22 Photo: El-Moez Street, Old Cairo, Egypt, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. SARAH WILLIS / MAYADA EL-ZOGHBI Egypt on the Precipice: Can Fintech Pave the Way for a More Inclusive Financial System? Although Egypt has been on the verge of a breakthrough in financial access for decades, its growth in financial inclusion has persistently lagged behind similar economies. The initiatives have been many: directives from the government on lending for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); lines of credit from international financial institutions; hundreds of millions of dollars in donor funds into institutions tasked with supporting microfinance and bank lending to MSMEs; and most recently, technical assistance and funding to support digitally enabled financial services. The result? A 3 percent increase in adult account ownership—from 11 percent to 14 percent—from 2011 to 2014, according to the most recent Findex, a World Bank report released every three years on the state of global financial access. The next Findex will be released in April, and Egypt-watchers are hoping that the long- awaited (and heavily funded) big jump in access will be a documented reality. But to date, the return on investment has underperformed, especially when it comes to transforming the lives of low-income people. That said, the reasons for optimism are many. Egypt has all the hallmarks of a market ready to leapfrog: a population of 93 million, 21.7 million of whom are between the ages of 18 and 29; more mobile subscriptions (110 million) than its population; and enthusiastic embrace of social media—Facebook alone has more than 37 million users each month. Perhaps the most promising development is the emergence of serious new financial services providers (FSPs) in Egypt. Fawry, launched in 2008, is an e-payment