“If I cannot pay for these infrastructural services from my own Egyptian bank, then I can’t really operate in Egypt. So I might as well just look for an environment where I can actually use my money however I please.” This is what Ramy Kandil, a 33-year-old Egyptian entrepreneur had to say about the recent decisions taken by Egyptian banks. In October, Egyptian banks announced new restrictions on spending abroad, including suspending the use of debit cards in foreign currency. The decision came as an effort to halt the drain on foreign currency as Egypt’s foreign exchange currency shortage continues to worsen. Shocking as it was, the decision was rebuffed by most Egyptians, especially young business owners and entrepreneurs. Through a short SMS, Egyptians were notified that they can no longer pay or buy any products or services in foreign currency, using their Egyptian bank cards, and that their cards can only be used for purchases charged in Egyptian pounds (EGP). “The shocking part of it for me was the immediacy at which the decree was done. There wasn’t a month’s heads up, or a few months’ heads up, or…
How is the Ban on Debit Card Usage in Foreign Currency Affecting Egyptian Startups?