ANGOLA - Finance
President of The Executive Committee, Interbank Service Company (EMIS)
José Gualberto de Matos is an engineer with an MBA from the University of Chicago (honors) and specialization in project management from the University of Bremen in Germany. He started his career with CTT and later worked with the Secretary of State for Communications, where he held the position of department director. He was later appointed Director General of the National Telecommunications Company (ENATEL). He also held the position of president and general manager of Angola Telecom. In 2002, he assumed the position of executive director of EMIS and is currently President of the Executive Committee.
EMIS is a private company owned by the Angola Banks, with the main mission of establishing and operate the financial market infrastructure that supports the Angola Payments System. This infrastructure is organized in five payment systems. It is a shared infrastructure, essential for the development of payment services and which takes full advantage of economies of scale. This infrastructure fully complies with the principles defined by the bank for international payments (BIS) for financial market infrastructure, thus guaranteeing the necessary neutrality. EMIS also owns the MULTICAIXA Card Payment Scheme, which comprises debit, credit, and prepaid cards for domestic use only. All Angolan commercial banks issue MULTICAIXA cards. At this time, over 8 million MULTICAIXA cards are issued, processing AOA1.8 trillion per month. In addition to traditional cash withdrawal and payment of purchases at POS, MULTICAIXA System offers more than a dozen cashless operations (invoice payments, airtime loading, pay TV, and electricity) in four payment channels. EMIS processes the issuing of Visa and Mastercard cards and processes the acceptance of Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and Union Pay cards for Angolan banks across the entire network. The credit transfer system (better known as EFT) handles more than AOA1 trillion per month. The direct debit system, which is in the launch phase, allows bank customers to make their punctual or periodic payments through an authorization to debit their bank account. This service is the culmination of an advanced banking system, whose objective is to consolidate banking, as it brings considerable value to the banked customer, thus contributing to their bank loyalty. The instant transfer system (ITS) is the latest market infrastructure that EMIS is implementing in line with the worldwide trend of evolving traditional payment systems to instant payments. EMIS has also planned the development of a market infrastructure that facilitates the implementation of open banking.
The experience with MCX Express, one of the four MULTICAIXA payment channels, showed us that the young Angolan population has a great propensity for the early adoption of innovative technologies, and this can be seen as an important factor in boosting the digital transformation of the Angolan society. As with all technological tools, MCX Express has been following its learning curve, both in terms of its best use and security. EMIS has been attentive to ensure constant evolution of this payment channel, in order to increase its security and improve the quality of the customer experience of the more than 600,000 active users, in just over two years, since its launch. In this sense, new developments are being prepared that will make the solution even more appealing, with the objective of reaching, at least, one million active users within a year, making it the fastest growing channel on the MULTICAIXA system, thus paving the way for dematerialization of the payment card.
Experience has shown that electronic payment systems have made their own way and coexist well with traditional payment methods, especially the use of physical money. Replacement, will take time. In any case, measures are needed that can prepare for the future and consolidate electronic payments. In Angola, there has been e-commerce for almost 10 years, where payment for purchases in online stores uses payment by reference, a two-step payment method involving the creation of a payment reference for each purchase. In mid-2020, we invested in an online payments gateway that implements another payment method, which uses MCX Express to validate payments, in one step, without entering card data. This gateway, which is also a shared infrastructure, is positioned to be the great driving force of electronic commerce in Angola. One of the greatest challenges of electronic commerce in Angola lies in the delivery logistics due to toponymic insufficiency (the last mile). The other challenge lies with fraud in the delivery of goods. The development of new electronic payment methods must be accompanied by reinforcement of trust, that includes improving the application of the law.
The biggest challenge is to find quick and sustainable solutions that guarantee basic financial services to the sixty percent of the adult population excluded from the banking universe. Financial inclusion needs the contribution of mobile money, taking advantage of the capillarity of the mobile operators, as they operate with commercial networks with extensive coverage. We are convinced that the implementation of the instant transfer system, enabling the emergence of non-banking payment service providers, can leverage the financial inclusion of the unbanked population.
EMIS’ major strategic objective is growing with security. To this end, it has made important investments in processing capacity, in order to anticipate the demand due to transactional growth within a horizon of three to five years; and reinforcement of its operational resilience—to reinforce the physical and technological infrastructures, with a view to strengthening the existing quality and safety conditions and mitigating risks regarding business continuity.