MENA – i2c Inc, a global provider of highly-configurable digital banking and payments solutions, has announced its partnership with Visa, as a fintech processor in the MENA region.

The partnership will allow fintech in the region to access Visa’s global network as well as i2c’s agile issuing and processing platform by tapping into the combined companies’ suite of digital-first solutions and advanced payments technologies.

Using i2c’s proprietary “building block” technology, clients can easily create and manage a comprehensive set of solutions for credit, debit, prepaid, lending and more, quickly and cost-effectively.

The platform delivers unparalleled flexibility, agility, security, and reliability from a single global SaaS platform.

This agreement will allow the region’s financial visionaries to go to market quicker and to innovate across a broad range of products and features,” said Amir Wain, CEO of i2c Inc.

This agreement comes at a time of unprecedented fintech growth in the region with an estimated 680 million unbanked persons and 60 million untapped merchants in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA).

Fintech investment is driving growth in the Mena digital economy as consumers pivot to cashless payments amid the Covid-19 pandemic and as the sector benefits from improved regulations.

One in four deals involve the fintech sector, which attracted about 30 percent of all the funding raised in 2021, leaving it poised for strong activity with the new liquidity.

In 2021, there were 220 deals in the digital economy worth US$2.1 billion, according to Redseer data. Of these, FinTech accounted for a quarter of the transactions (52 deals) and 29 percent of the deal value (US$600 million).

The region has produced quite a few unicorns although its proportion is relatively small in comparison to the world’s share.

In Africa, there were only three unicorns in 2018, according to a research report – Nigeria’s Jumia and South Africa’s Promasidor Holdings and Cell C.

Compared to much of the rest of the world, MENA showcases a strong concentration within key regions such as Israel and the UAE for the Middle East and Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya.

In addition, compared to more established tech communities, such as Silicon Valley in the US or London in the UK, MENA still has much to develop in its ecosystem – from funding to wider tech support to other innovations.

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