Western Union and Arab Federation for e-Commerce to Boost Adoption of Digital Payments in MENA
Posted on May 01, 2017

Western Union, a leader in global payments, joins hands with the Arab Federation for e-Commerce, to boost the uptake of e-Commerce and digital payments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Representing 14 governments from MENA, the Arab Federation of e-Commerce aims to establish efficient processes, practices and platforms for the development of secure and efficient e-commerce to serve consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in the region.

As a leader in global money transfer and payments, Western Union’s expertise is enabling the fast, convenient and reliable movement of money in over 200 countries and territories* around the world. Western Union provides consumers, businesses, NGOs and financial institutions with the ability to send money transfers and payments through cash at locations, through bank accounts, online or mobile, and the choice of receiving money through a network of over  - 500,000 agent locations*, or billions of bank accounts, mobile wallets or cards.

“While currently online transactions are a very small part of overall payments in the region, building the robust infrastructure needed to stimulate and support e-commerce makes good economic sense. Governments are keen to bring in the efficiency, transparency and inclusion of a strong e-Commerce environment. A global industry leader such as Western Union will help us bring best practice systems and platforms to meet these goals,” said H.E Ambassador Mohamed Al Rabea, Secretary General of Council of Arab Economic Unity, the League of Arab States.

With its young population, high internet penetration and government commitment to building efficient payment systems, the MENA region has the potential for rapid growth in e-Commerce and digital payments and supporting new lifestyle habits including online shopping. According to leading global research and advisory firm Forrester, growth in online cross-border retail is faster in MENA than in Europe and North America. The Middle East/Africa has the highest rate of online shoppers who buy across borders, with more than half of online shoppers buying internationally.

“Our experience with managing a large retail network as well as fast-growing digital channels, combined with our understanding of the complexities of regulatory and compliance requirements for global payments, enables us to deliver solutions that meet a wide range of payment needs. We congratulate the Arab Federation for e-Commerce on the unveiling of their five year strategic plan to strengthen the e-Commerce eco-system in the region that is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. We look forward to working together with them to create a seamless experience for consumer, business or government payments across MENA,” said Hatem Sleiman, Regional Vice President Middle East at Western Union.

*Network Data as of December 31, 2016