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    Egypt Gets First Licensed Digital Bank: Banque Misr’s Onebank to Launch by Q4 2024

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    In a landmark development for Egypt’s banking landscape, the Central Bank of Egypt has granted initial approval to Egypt Digital Innovation Company to launch the country’s first licensed digital bank, Onebank. This approval marks the successful completion of the first phase of licensing procedures, following a rigorous due diligence examination of the bank’s infrastructure, systems, and security measures.

    Onebank, set to debut in the last quarter of 2024, is a subsidiary of Banque Misr, with Banque Misr holding the largest stake in the venture. Established in 2020 with a clear objective to adhere to the regulatory guidelines set forth by the Central Bank, Misr Digital Innovation Company aims to revolutionize banking in Egypt by leveraging digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

    The overarching goal of Onebank digital bank is to democratize access to banking services and products through its digital channels in Egypt. By offering a wide array of solutions tailored to meet the evolving needs of customers, Onebank aims to usher in a new era of banking services in Egypt. Through advanced technological innovations, the bank plans to provide personalized products and services that align with the diverse lifestyles of its clientele.

    The emergence of Onebank comes at a time when the financial market in Egypt is witnessing a growing demand for digital banking solutions. With an emphasis on financial inclusion and digital transformation, Onebank represents a significant step forward in the evolution of banking services in the country.

    To secure approval from the Central Bank, Onebank has met stringent licensing requirements outlined by the regulatory body. These requirements include a minimum issued and paid-up capital of EGP 2 billion ($64M), with the capital increasing to EGP 4 billion ($129.6M) in cases involving financing for large companies. Moreover, the majority shareholder must be a financial institution with a proven track record in similar activities, holding a minimum ownership of 30% of the total capital.

    The Central Bank’s comprehensive guidelines aim to ensure transparency, legality, and the ability of digital banks to provide secure and reliable services. By adhering to these requirements, aspiring digital banks can enhance their prospects of obtaining the necessary licenses.

    Notably, prominent players in the banking and digital payment sectors, including Banque Misr, Opay, and Visa, have expressed keen interest in acquiring stakes in the new digital bank, underscoring the significance of this development within Egypt’s financial landscape.

    Charles Rapulu Udoh is a Lagos-based lawyer, who has several years of experience working in Africa’s burgeoning tech startup industry. He has closed multi-million dollar deals bordering on venture capital, private equity, intellectual property (trademark, patent or design, etc.), mergers and acquisitions, in countries such as in the Delaware, New York, UK, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Nigeria etc. He’s also a corporate governance and cross-border data privacy and tax expert. As an award-winning writer and researcher, he is passionate about telling the African startup story, and is one of the continent’s pioneers in this regard.

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