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Press Releases

ONLINE payments have been at the center of electronic commerce challenges in the Middle East and North Africa since the first regional e-commerce sites came online. In many cases, they’ve kept both investors and founders worried about venturing into e-commerce businesses, and prevented many consumers from enjoying the benefits.
Jordanian based payment service provider, Gate2Play, announced yesterday a strategic partnership and investment by Saudi virtual network operator, Integrated Networks (INET). The amount was not disclosed but “it is in millions of dollars” says Muhannad Ebwini, founder and CEO of Gate2Play.
100 million Internet users, 286 million phone users, and a three trillion dollar economy. These are the three numbers that anyone should remember when looking at the Internet and technology opportunities in today’s Arab world. The Arab world is made of 350 million people spread between 22 countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf sharing one language and tight cultural and entertainment affinities.
Zynga plans on taking over the world with social games. But it’s not so easy in places where there aren’t easy payment mechanisms such as credit cards. So the company is teaming up with Gate2Play to launch prepaid Zynga Game Cards which can be purchased in stores and redeemed to buy digital goods in Zynga’s online games.

The online payments provider Cashu is looking to grow its merchant base by 100 new companies every month for the next two years. The company, based in Dubai and part of the Jordanian Jabber Internet Group, works with 7,000 merchants across the world. “We know the problems with payment acceptance in the region and many businesses test their ideas on Cashu,” said Martin Waldenström, the Cashu chief executive. When someone starts an online shop, they can do more or less everything themselves except for the payment.

WHEN Fida Taher decided in early 2011 to launch a website showing recipe videos, her family laughed. Not only were her cooking skills mediocre; she had no experience in business. And she was leaving a good job at a video-production company. “But I had stopped learning there and felt too young to settle,” she explains.