by Sidra Tariq
Dubai-based online payment gateway PayFort is planning to launch a new product before the end of 2014 as part of its growth plans, according to its managing director, Omar Soudodi.
“We are launching a new service that we hope can help any kind of merchant – such as airlines or e-commerce sites – that has a higher transaction value,” he adds, while declining to comment further on the service. “We have a lot of new products in the pipeline, but we won’t be able to discuss them, because we are trying to make sure they work for us.”
PayFort, which started in 2013, currently operates in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with plans to launch in Kuwait this year. “Next year, we will probably expand into other GCC and North African countries,” Soudodi adds.
At the ArabNet Digital Summit, which took place at Atlantis, The Palm last week, the company released its Arab World Online Payment Report 2014, which provides an in-depth analysis of the state of e-payments and e-commerce in the region.
According to Soudodi, the region’s e-commerce industry is flourishing: “According to Visa’s 2013 report, the Mena region is the fastest growing [e-commerce market] in the world. We may not have the highest size of transactions, but we are the fastest growing. We are growing at 45 per cent, while the US is growing at 15 per cent and Europe at 20 per cent.
“We have a young population [that is] being banked more and more. A lot of banks are opening up the flood gates of [enabling online payments through] debit cards, so we see more people coming online and there are more services available online. In the next five years, you will see see 30 per cent to 40 per cent growth year on year. And, after that, it will normalise like the rest of the world.”
According to eMarketer data, the Mea region’s B2C e-commerce sales is expected to reach $51.4 billion by 2017.