The Middle East and Africa region is projected to post the fastest growth rate for payment cards during the next few years leading up to 2017, according to Abdulla Qassem, Chairman – Network International a leading payment solutions provider in the Middle East.
Qassem was speaking at Network International’s 7th User Conference, which brought together financial institutions, the company’s merchant partners and retailers to discuss the developments in the payments sector.
“The Middle East and Africa markets are teeming with opportunities, and as the payment infrastructure becomes more developed, we believe the region will witness the fastest growth rate for charge, credit and debit cards across the 2012-2017 period,” said Qassem. “As customers demand ingenious and convenient payment technologies that also offer the highest level of security, we believe the next level of innovation will be in the areas of mobile payments and e-commerce.”
The need for continuing innovation in payment solutions was the main focus of discussions at the three day event held in New Delhi, India, under the theme, “Gateway to Innovation.” In her keynote address, “Shaping a Country Through Payments,” Ayesha Al Rayesi Executive Director of Central Operations Sector at the Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) took the idea to a new level when she spoke about the role of the Smart National ID, which would also incorporate payments.
Network International also took the opportunity to update its partners about the company’s achievements in 2013. Bhairav Trivedi, Chief Executive Officer, Network International, said: “In the last three years, we have doubled the volume of transactions processed, and have reached almost 400 million transactions in 2013, amounting to AED 70 billion in volume. The high point was when we successfully completed over 2 million transactions in a single day, with several instances of over 100 transactions per second.”
“The ever-increasing focus on customer centricity has meant that consumers are becoming empowered by the day, and payment models are constantly being tuned to the customer’s requirements by leveraging the latest technologies,” he added.
Trivedi pointed out that Network International had taken huge strides with regard to investing in next generation technologies including the launch of “Network One,” an innovative and market-leading platform developed in partnership with OpenWay. A first of its kind in the region, the new platform allows innovative products to be created, or value added services like loyalty programmes and mobile payments to be implemented by monitoring the behavior and attributes of a payment.
The three day User conference witnessed participation from global dignitaries and business leaders, including the former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou; His Excellency Mr. Ioannis E. Raptakis, Ambassador of Greece in India; Diane Offereins, President – Payment Services, Discover Financial Services; Sean Cleary, Chairman, Strategic Concepts (Pty) Ltd.; Ernst Van Dyk, Laureus award winning wheelchair racer and hand cyclist; and Captain Phillips, US Merchant Marine and Captain, and subject of the movie: Captain Phillips.
Prime Minister Papandreou addressed the gathering on: “Sustained Uncertainty or Sustainable Recovery: Europe’s Future and what it means for the global economy,” while Cleary spoke on: “The Global and MEA Regional Economy - How it impacts your business.”
Network International’s User Conference brings together financial institutions, public luminaries, business leaders, government utility providers and merchant partners of Network International, resulting in innovative thinking and exchange of ideas and best practices related to the payments sector.