Washington, D.C., March 21, 2017
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the IFC Middle East and North Africa Fund, managed by IFC Asset Management Company, today announced a combined indirect equity investment of $30 million via the WP/GA consortium fund in Network International, a leading provider of payment solutions, to expand the payment infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa.
IFC and the MENA Fund have each invested $15 million to acquire indirect stakes in Network International, which is jointly controlled by the Emirates NBD Bank and Warburg Pincus/General Atlantic consortium. The investment will help the company expand and modernize its banking client network in the Middle East and Africa, by helping them develop electronic channels, improve their level of service, and expand their reach into underserved segments, boosting financial inclusion.
Simon Haslam, Group CEO of Network International, said: “This investment is testimony to Network International’s position as the leading payment solutions provider in the Middle East and Africa, operating across 71 countries, servicing over 200 banks and more than 70,000 merchants. It will help Network International as it continues on its path to growth with new and exciting products and services harnessing the latest technology.”
According to McKinsey, credit card, debit card and ATM penetration in the Middle East and Africa is the lowest in the world, with only 0.25 cards per adult and 97 percent of all transactions still cash based. Only 31 percent of the population is banked, while more than 30 million micro, small and medium enterprises remain unserved or underserved.
“Network International is well positioned to offer affordable and innovative solutions to merchants, banks and consumers, strengthening the payment infrastructure,” said Bassel Hamwi, Head of the IFC Middle East and North Africa Fund. “A shared infrastructure brings down costs and boosts financial inclusion, while reducing the risk of fraud.”
The investment will allow MSMEs to access card-based payments and develop digital data records, to help them grow their customer base. Network International’s expansion will also promote cross-regional integration of the financial and payment infrastructure.
“Network International is our strategic partner in establishing and expanding shared financial infrastructure across the Middle East and Africa,” said Andi Dervishi, Global Head of IFC’s Fintech Investment Group. “The company will help modernize banks by developing shared electronic channels with an improved level of service and deeper reach into underserved populations, while improving transparency and reducing money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing.”
IFC’s support of Network International is part of a broader strategy in the Middle East and North Africa to address long-term development challenges and increase employment opportunities through the private sector. During fiscal year 2016, IFC committed over $1.3 billion in MENA, including $330 million in mobilization. IFC’s advisory services approved 20 new projects with a total value of over $21 million.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
About IFC Asset Management Company
IFC Asset Management Company (AMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of IFC, invests third party capital, enabling investors to benefit from IFC’s expertise in achieving strong equity returns, as well as positive development impact in the countries in which it invests. AMC has raised $9.4 billion of capital across 13 investment funds. It manages the IFC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Fund. For more information, visit
About Network International
Established in 1994, Network International LLC is the largest acquirer in the UAE, and a leading payment solutions provider in the Middle East and Africa region (MEA), servicing more than 70,000 merchants and 200 financial institutions across 70+ countries. The company’s service offering comprises a comprehensive range of payment products and services for both the Issuing and Acquiring segments of banks, financial institutions and retail merchants including end-to-end consultancy ranging from planning and designing to developing of new card and consumer finance products and services. In addition, the company offers several value-add products including data analytics, scoring and loyalty solutions. Network International has Operation centers in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa and India, with its corporate head office in Dubai. The company recently acquired Emerging Markets Payments Holdings Limited (EMPH) and continues to invest in strategic partnerships that will increasingly see its influence spread across the region.
As the first independent vendor certified by both Visa & MasterCard for card payments in the Middle East, Network International is a Principal Member of Visa International and MasterCard International in the UAE and enjoys extension of its MasterCard License in other key countries. It is also a member of JCB and Union Pay card schemes, and it owns and manages the Diners Club International Franchise in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. The company also launched a GCC-based domestic scheme, Mercury, and partnered with Discover Financial Services (DFS) to allow global acceptance of Mercury cards on the Discover, Diners Club International and PULSE networks. Network International, a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certified company, is also a major player in the international remittance industry and owns a 100 per cent stake in TimesofMoney Ltd., a leading global online remittance and digital payments company facilitating cross-border remittances and domestic payments in emerging economies.