Khalifa Al Shamsi
e& life has seen a 5z gain in international transfers through 2022. But the UAE super-app does a lot more than remittances. Image Credit: Supplied

If the answer is e& money, then you will have done well. Because these days, e& is more than just about being a tech and telecom service provider. For Khalifa Al Shamsi, CEO of e& life, of which e& money is a key component, it all adds to a job being done well. More than well, to be honest.

The e& money app now has over half a million users, with app downloads increasing three-fold in 2022. “e& money has expanded its funding channels to include open banking and debit cards, resulting in a doubling of funding volume in 2022,” said Al Shamsi.

“The app has seen a significant increase in international money transfers, with 5x growth in volume in 2022. It offers the fastest digital on boarding experience among digital wallets in the UAE and has integrated with several brands into its bill payment, top up and gifting services.”

Plus, the remittances at zero cost. And if you want grocery delivery, e& does that.

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e& is well on its way to creating the ‘super-app’ of choice for UAE consumers. These days, with additional partner tie-ins, this includes access to health services, web TV streaming, and a growing roster of financial services. More gains come its way from the acquisition of a majority in the Careem Super App, which delivered the latter’s inbuilt audience and gives e& life a chance to top up.

“Super-apps are a critical part of the group's new growth strategy that allow users to access a variety of services through a single app - without the need to switch between the various,” says Al Shamsi. Image Credit: Supplied

“They have the potential to revolutionise multiple sectors, including healthcare and insurance. Super-apps can improve access to healthcare services, enhance disease diagnosis and treatment, enable remote healthcare, and improve outcomes.”

Lots of entertainment too

And consumers can get a bit of time for self-indulgence as well, through the entertainment options. This is where the majority stake in Strazplay Arabia comes in for e& life (through evision).

“The widespread use of video streaming platforms worldwide has changed the way we consume visual content, raising consumer expectations for high-quality and smooth streaming content,” sad the CEO. “With the ultra-fast download speeds provided by 5G networks, evision has an opportunity to elevate the online video streaming experience to new horizons.

“evision has adapted to digital developments locally, regionally and globally, providing over 20,000 hours of content covering Hollywood, Arabic, South Asian, Anime, Korean, Spanish, French to meet the diverse needs of customers on IPTV and OTT.”

That’s a lot of built-in viewing possibilities…

“The digital entertainment sector in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is expected to reach a market value of approximately $10 billion by 2025,” said Al Shamsi. “On-demand video services are estimated to earn around $5.5 billion through 29 million users in the region.

“This presents significant opportunities for evision - which has been operating since in 1999 and - to be the region's largest content and multimedia broadcasting company.”

Careem deal gives heft

Then there’s the Careem deal. When e& life bought the majority in Careem, the latter was well on its way to creating a platform with multiple services. Plus, with a user base that has kept growing, right from the time it launched ride hailing and then moved into food delivery services.

This is where e& life espies a much wider regional reach as well.

“There are plans to leverage e&’s expertise in financial technology and multimedia - along with Careem's wide regional reach. The Careem Super App offers over 12 services and provides services across nine countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

“The acquisition presents an opportunity for e& to expand its services in these regions and strengthen its role in different markets. Overall, the acquisition supports e& life's goals for growth and expansion in the fintech and digital services sector.”

e& life benefits from the Group companies operating in 16 markets, serving over 164 million users across the Group's services, which include financial technology, transfers, lending, and financing services

- Khalifa Al Shamsi of e& life

Fintech is where the action is

A lot of what e& life is aiming for is to build up scale at being a fintech enabler. Cutting across consumer lines.

“According to a McKinsey report, fintech revenue is projected to triple over the next three years, reaching $4.5 billion, in the region,” said Al Shamsi. “This surge will account for 2.5 per cent of the total financial services revenue.

“However, this is merely the beginning, as we possess the essential elements to nurture this growth further.

“The UAE stands out as the dominant force in the fintech sector within the region. With a market value exceeding $2.5 billion in 2022, we have capitalized on the advanced infrastructure, robust banking and payment sectors, and the rapidly expanding e-commerce market.

“Our strategic global partnerships have been highly successful, as the UAE serves as the headquarters for numerous leading regional and international companies, making it a global fintech destination.”

Part of that will now and forever be reflected on the Super-App e& is putting together.