PayPal appoints new boss to drive MidEast expansion

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Electronic payments giant PayPal on Sunday announced the appointment of Laurent Wakim as the new regional manager for its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) business.

Wakim will be responsible for driving PayPal's growth and expansion in the region as it looks to enter new markets, the company said in a statement.

This includes managing and building strategic partnerships that allow PayPal to introduce services into markets as diverse as the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan, the statement added.

"We're very excited about Laurent's appointment" said Laurent Le Moal, VP, general manager CEMEA, PayPal. "Laurent joined PayPal in 2010. He brings with him a wealth of experience that will be crucial to growing our footprint in the region and building our strategic partnerships."

Last year, PayPal said it expects to sign up to 25,000 merchants and capture 10 percent of the MENA region’s e-commerce customers in the next two years following the launch of its local operation.

"We first entered the MENA region in 2012," added Wakim. "Online commerce is growing fast in many of these markets and PayPal is an ideal way to overcome many of the concerns people have making online payments, providing fraud protection and buyer protection policies for securing purchases."

Wakim replaces Elias Ghanem who left to pursue other opportunities in the region, the statement said.

In June, Dubai launched a new internet payment platform which aims to target the Arabic speaking online community and rival global player PayPal.

“While e-commerce has seen impressive adoption gains in the MENA region... both consumers and retailers [are] demanding simplified, secure payment options,” Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort, said as he launched the platform at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2013.

The platform is designed to reduce the risks associated with online transactions and will compete with global players such as PayPal, which is owned by eBay.

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