(Photo credit: Alexander NEMENOV/AFP)
Egypt is preparing to adopt Russia’s Mir payment system and include the Russian ruble on the list of currencies used by Egyptian banks and tourism companies, according to an Egyptian Central Bank official who spoke with Al Monitor.
The anonymous source said that the Mir payment system will be implemented across Egypt before the end of September in order to boost Russian tourism and enhance trade between the two nations.
“The decision targets all commercial and industrial activities and not only tourism,” the official added.
Cairo reportedly made the decision in anticipation of the winter tourism season, taking advantage of Europe’s ill-fated sanctions campaign against Russia.
Several countries across the world are seeking to start using the Mir payment system, chief among Iran, which has long been the target of punitive economic sanctions from the west.
The head of Iran’s banking and insurance department of the Iranian Finance Ministry, Qorban Eskandari, said on 16 August that Tehran is “just months away” from implementing the Russian payment system, which serves as an alternative to western systems like Visa and Mastercard.
Days later, Russian and Iranian companies started conducting trade in their national currencies for the first time.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said early in August that five of Turkey’s most prominent banks have already started using the Mir payment system.
Bahrain is also planning to introduce the Russian system “in the near future,” according to the kingdom’s ambassador to Russia Ahmed Abdulrahman al-Saati.
“In Bahrain, we will soon introduce the Russian Mir payment system into banking services, which will allow tourists from [Russia] to relax comfortably and safely with us,” Al-Saati said during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in July.
Sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine have backfired for the most part, pushing Moscow closer to its allies in the Global South, and leaving both the US and Europe scrambling to deal with the loss of Russian fuel.