PayFort, an online payment platform owned by e-commerce giant Amazon, has secured a licence from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) to operate as wholly-owned payments solutions firm in the kingdom.

The licence granted to PayFort is the first foreign business licence of its kind secured by a payment services operator from SAGIA.

PayFort managing director Omar Soudodi said: “PayFort’s new company registration as a foreign investor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sign of our long-term commitment to the market and comes as a result of our efforts to support the rapid growth in the country’s online sectors.

“Recent initiatives to further diversify the Saudi economy and grow hitherto undeveloped economic sectors, such as entertainment and tourism, are likely to help accelerate an already fast growing digital payments market.”

A 2017 report by Payfort highlighted Saudi Arabia and the UAE as among the fastest growing markets for electronic payments in the region.

The report found the value of electronic payments in Saudi Arabia surging 27% to $8.3bn in 2016 compared to the previous year, and also predicted the value to double in the next four years to over $22bn.