Emerging Markets Payments (EMP), the leading electronic payments processing company in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), has announced the signing of an exclusive technology and center of excellence partnership with Afghanistan Payments Systems (APS), the local domestic payment card switch in Afghanistan.
The agreement will allow EMP to work with all Afghan banks in partnership with APS, providing fast, reliable and secure electronic payment card processing for ATMs, 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, Executive Chairman of EMP. "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 percent of Afghan government employees received their salaries electronically compared to just 1 percent in 2006. Although fewer than 5 percent of Afghans have bank accounts, approximately 65 percent have mobile phones and nearly 90 percent of the population lives in areas with mobile network coverage, so there is great potential for new payment methods.
"At APS, we view our partnership with EMP as a strategic step towards offering the Afghan market cutting-edge payment processing solutions," said Zaheer Bawar, Managing Director of APS. "At APS, we are working relentlessly to ensure that we operate in accordance with the highest international standards for the industry. We believe our partnership with EMP will enable us to go to market faster and will also provide our client banks in Afghanistan with access to high-quality services and state-of-the-art solutions."
EMP is expanding quickly across the wider MEA region, having opened its first branch in Nairobi, Kenya in June of this year to join the company's 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.
EMP offers an innovative and wide scope of products for banks, merchants and government including advisory services, mobile payment, bill presentment and payments among many others. The company most recently launched the cutting-edge bill presentment program with the Central Bank of Jordan known as eFawateerCom at a press conference hosted at Cards and Payments Middle East in Dubai, UAE.