Interview with Rachid: Digital Inclusion – Think Global, Act Local.

Overseas | France

Wiseasy is delighted to announce the establishment of a French subsidiary, and appointment of Rachid OULAD AKDIM as the Vice President of Wiseasy Group and the President of the French subsidiary.

Rachid will oversee and support all strategic initiatives for operations, sales, and marketing in the region to manage relationships across target industries within the digital payment and banking space, taking full charge of the great EMEA region (including Europe and the CIS countries, the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia).

Digital Inclusion: Access + Adoption + Application

One of Rachid’s reasons to join Wiseasy is digital banking and Wiseasy’s role as a digital banking enabler. Rachid highlights that digital banking, or digitalization in general is not more an option. It has been observed for the past 5 years that a complete and unprecedented change has taken place and further amplified by the pandemic in the payment landscape. Studies have found that the number of contactless transactions during the first quarter of the pandemic had increased by 200%.

*Growth in digital banking (2018-2024)

Banks, financial institutions, and even governments are thinking about adapting to digitalization and have shifted to online thanks to the growing speed of internet and connectivity – new ministries, institutions, commissions have been established to foster digitalization. For example, industry surveys have shown that a transition to the digital is a must, especially for banks. It used to be that people go to banks, now the banks come to us.

Rachid then introduces the topic Digital Inclusion. Digitalization can generate privileges and exclusion for those with superior access, so it is important to create inclusion. To succeed at digital inclusion, Rachid brings up 3 pillars that all companies should focus on: the Access +the Adoption + the Application on the ground. Wiseasy has contributed to the inclusion by accomplishing the milestone of accepting digital Yuan currency in China, as well as serving 2000+ merchants with foreign payments via SnapPay in Canada.

EMEA as a Virgin Market for Digital Payments

To Rachid, the EMEA region is still a very big virgin market. With two tries being done previously, Europe has now again started to consolidate the European market with the European Payment Initiative, trying to unify payments there which indicates that Wiseasy still has time to shine.

In Africa, many initiatives have been made. Countries like Kenya and Nigeria are relatively innovative in terms of payment. And same with the Middle East region, although countries like Dubai are very experiential and successful with digital banking service offerings, the majority of payments are still traditional and  technologies are traditional technologies.

*Zanaco Bank using the Wiseasy T1 F1 device 

Rachid notes that a big issue yet to be solved in the region is that, to fully transform to digital, banks and  financial institutions would require huge budgets for IT. Unfortunately, in reality the number is too big for  these institutions to perform a full transition at this stage.

Rachid argues that innovation-wise, the market is still virgin as cash payment still has a major presence in the region, even in Europe. Northern European countries have even started to implement policies to stop the cash, but there is still a long way to go. The obsession today is no longer technology, instead it is how to satisfy customers with all the movements that we know. The EMEA region today, has shown very innovative solutions in Africa and the Middle East especially. However, as the market is growing more and more open, international schemes have been enabled and are expected to flourish.

Think Global, Act Local

When asked about his vision and strategic plans for the EMEA region, Rachid is confident that Wiseasy is on top of what is happening on the market because the company has very good solutions to offer and knows how to adapt to the trend well.

He reveals that Wiseasy has put in place a 5-year strategic plan for the EMEA region. First step would be to open a subsidiary in France. It will be the 1st subsidiary of Wiseasy outside of China for business operations, to be closer to partners in China, especially for the EU region. Whereas in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, Wiseasy has formed strong partnerships and relationships with key local partners who trust the Wiseasy products, services and support.

Wiseasy’s biggest strategic plan is to think global and act local. Whereas localization is key, as a Chinese company, with experience of what has been done in China (for instance, Alipay, Wechat pay, digital banking, etc.), Wiseasy can bring that expertise to the EMEA region.

Rachid concludes that the key differentiator nowadays is no longer the technology or pricing, it’s about digital inclusion and delivery. Wiseasy team is dedicated to offer fast, safe, secure innovative solutions, products and platforms. All its platforms are cloud-based. And with the entire team dedicated to digital inclusion, Wiseasy will be fast, secure and close to our partners.