With government encouragement, smart card vendors, banks and government officials recently launched the Egyptian Association for Smart Cards Industry & Applications.
Among its goals is to work closely with banks to convert their payments cards to chip cards that comply with the global standard for credit and debit smart cards, EMV.
Both MasterCard International and Visa International have set January 2006 as the date for a shift of liability for card fraud in the Middle East to banks or merchants not equipped to issue or accept EMV-compliant smart cards. Five banks are represented on the Egyptian group’s 11-person board. The chairman of the board is Moustafa Samaha, managing director of the Egyptian subsidiary of Giesecke & Devrient, a Germany-based smart card vendor. The call to create the smart card society came from Tarek Kamel, Egypt’s minister of Communication and Information Technology, and that agency is providing offices for the new group.