“We, at the Central Bank of Kuwait, are preparing the infrastructure for future aspirations that would enable a truly digital economy.” With these words in September 2019, Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) Governor Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel laid out a vision that underscored the mandate to foster innovation, a cornerstone of CBK’s strategy. The “Shaping the Future” strategy aims to build a strong and sound financial system, and future-proof the country’s banking sector.
The lockdowns of 2020 demonstrated this future clearly in both Kuwait and around the world; companies that had adopted digital services and financial technology earlier were at a great advantage. The Central Bank of Kuwait was keen to promote electronic and contactless payments to encourage social distancing measures between people during the pandemic. The CBK and the Kuwait local switch, K-Net, waived fees on POS transactions and more than doubled the limit for tap contactless payments for the duration of the lockdowns.
Traditional celebrations also turned digital during the pandemic. In an effort to find alternatives to in-person celebrations of Eid El-Fitr festivities, which typically include gifting Eidiya money to children, the 3edeti electronic service was launched during the full lockdown in May 2020. This initiative by the Central Bank of Kuwait and K-Net saw the exchange of 2.06 million Kuwaiti dinars (6.7 million USD) and close to 70,000 transactions in four days.
In Kuwait, the number of online payment transactions grew over ...
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