Iraq banks its future on Qi Card

Ahmed Tabaqchali tells how home-grown technology has brought digital payments to a country devastated by war

The World Today
3 minute READ

Ahmed Tabaqchali

Chief Strategist, AFC Iraq Fund

Financial technology, or Fintech, is rewriting the rulebook of the financial sector by streamlining traditional methods through the adoption of technologies such as smartphones for mobile banking and the use of artifical intelligence to provide investment, insurance and lending.

In the developed world, it is transforming the competitive landscape for the benefit of the consumer, through lower costs and greater choice, while in the developing world it is creating the opportunity for people to enter into the world of financial services, bypassing severe infrastructure obstacles, and in the process allowing the unbanked to carry out financial interactions.

In Iraq, the introduction of these services has been made possible due to the rapid adoption since 2003 of mobile phones, followed by the internet, although there has been a slight dip in mobile phone penetration since 2014 due to the occupation of a third of the country by the Islamic State group.

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