Kuwait 2017 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Abdulla Khaled Al-Ajmi, CEO, Shared Electronic Banking Services Company (KNET) on the sector.

Abdulla Khaled Al-Ajmi

What have been some of the challenges to further integrate the financial service providers across the GCC?

The challenge is that any integration between countries takes time. In 1997, we started and in May 2014 the GCC points of sale were launched in Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. The others are coming onboard once they are ready. The challenge is that each one represents a number of banks, different priorities, different setups, and different customer behavior so it takes time. We do not need to wait for everybody to start together as the framework, operations, and regulations are agreed upon and in place.

What are your expectations for the next 12 months?

The government has increasingly started privatizing, which makes it easier for us to work with private institutes. We started offering our services to the private sector in 1995, and to the government in 2008. Private enterprises, small or medium, tend to prefer plastic. In light of this, KNET is not providing a last-mile service, the infrastructure and connections to all banks and customers. We expect to break the 200 million transaction mark by YE2016.