Emerging Markets Payments (EMP) has signed an exclusive technology and centre of excellence partnership with Afghanistan Payments Systems (APS), the country’s local domestic payment card switch.
The agreement will allow EMP, leading electronic payments processing company in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), to work with all Afghan banks in partnership with APS, providing fast, reliable and secure electronic payment card processing for automated teller machines (ATMs), point of sale (POS) and remote card not present (CNP) transactions such as bill payments and recurring payments.
“Afghanistan is a country of immense potential,” said Paul Edwards, EMP’s executive chairman. “With sound infrastructure and growing demand for payment solutions, the Afghan market represents a remarkable opportunity.
“As we develop close ties with our local partners, EMP will showcase its skills as an industry leader to help move the country towards a more financially diverse and customer-centric payments environment.”
According to media reports, by the end of 2012 more than 70% of Afghan government employees received their salaries electronically compared to just 1% in 2006. Although fewer than 5% of Afghans have bank accounts, approximately 65% have mobile phones and nearly 90% of the population lives in areas with mobile network coverage, offering great potential for new payment methods.
EMP is expanding quickly across the wider MEA region, having opened its first branch in Nairobi, Kenya in June to join its offices in Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Lagos, Nigeria; Dubai, UAE; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. The smart card processing pioneer serves 130 banks across MEA and has grown in tandem with the electronic payments industry, which is still in the emergent stage across much of the region.
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