Middle East & Africa FinTech Forum to be held in March

B. Chandrasekhar (L) and Sael Al-Warry
Updated 19 January 2018
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Middle East & Africa FinTech Forum to be held in March

The second Middle East & Africa Fintech Forum will be held in Manama on March 7-8 under the theme “Beyond Disruption.”
The forum will be opened by Sheikh Rasheed Mohammed Al-Maraj, governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain and hosted by Bank ABC and Arab Financial Services (AFS).
The event will bring together leading and well regarded global experts and industry leaders for a series of talks and discussions addressing the most pressing issues in the fast-evolving FinTech landscape.
The conference will tackle the biggest disruptors for banks in the near future. From the emergence of challenger banks to the cutting-edge advances in artificial intelligence to the rise of cryptocurrencies and the drive for greater financial inclusion across the globe. Keynote speakers include Anthony Thomson, founder of the first UK digital bank, Atom Bank, and the award-winning Metro Bank; and Gregg Cross, chief business officer at Soul Machines, in addition to industry experts and leading FinTech commentators.
Sael Al-Waary, chairman of AFS and deputy group CEO of Bank ABC, said: “This forum goes beyond disruption and helps facilitate the establishment of a cashless society and more sophisticated financial technology services in Bahrain and the region as a whole. As a key regional payments provider and FinTech enabler, AFS is taking this initiative to ensure that all future prospects of the financial industry vis-a-vis technology are explored.”
He said: “The forum is designed to be highly engaging, with discussions on how FinTech is transforming banking, the move from artificial intelligence to emotional intelligence, the future prospects for the financial industry, and how financial inclusion will transform our world. The world-renowned key speakers addressing the conference demonstrate the significance of the dramatic and transformational change across the financial industry.”
B. Chandrasekhar, CEO of AFS, said: “We’re looking forward to hosting the second edition of this crucial forum. Our intent is to enable leading influencers, innovators and investors to discuss and collaborate on implementing ground-breaking solutions. We are dedicated to serving financial institutions and to help our clients optimize the true potential of FinTech. We envisage this annual forum becoming an integral part of our FinTech ecosystem across the MENA region.”
The first AFS MENA FinTech Forum, held in March 2017, saw over 350 attendees with notable speakers such as Susanne Chisti, the author of FinTech Circle, and experts from PayTM India, FSS, Visa, McKinsey, IBM and ai Corp.


Global Leadership Awards feature three Saudi winners

Sofana Dahlan, founder of Tashkeil; Malaysian Consul General Dato Mohammed Ali bin Selamat; Saudi media and political analyst Khaled Almaeena; Khashoggi Holding Group Vice Chairman Hassan Khashoggi and Mohamed Rafeeq, CEO, My Events International Saudi Arabia, at the event in Jeddah recently. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Global Leadership Awards feature three Saudi winners

The 8th Global Leadership Awards (GLA), which took place in Kuala Lumpur recently, for the first time had winners from Saudi Arabia in two different categories and Saudi media and political analyst Khaled Almaeena as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Almaeena hosted the Malaysian Consul General Dato Mohammed Ali bin Selamat, and the two winners of the GLA, Sofana Dahlan and Hassan Khashoggi, along with Mohamed Rafeeq, CEO of My Events International Saudi Arabia, at his office in Jeddah.

Welcoming the guests, Rafeeq said: “When we disclosed the news of GLA Secretariat’s selection of Khaled Almaeena for the Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements in media, expatriates’ welfare and women empowerment in the region, he just had one thing to say. I would also like to see some Saudi young men and women recognized at the GLA.”

Almaeena nominated a number of Saudis who have excelled in various fields, including two Saudis who won the GLA in different categories.

Recipient of the “Leadership Excellence in Social Entrepreneurship” award, Sofana Dahlan is a well-known lawyer, social entrepreneur and among the first three Saudi female lawyers practicing in the Kingdom. She is the first Saudi female senior economic policymaker and the founder of Tashkeil, a social enterprise that promotes creative entrepreneurs.

Hassan Khashoggi, who won the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award, is vice chairman of the Khashoggi Holding Group, which was established in 2010. It is a leading private holding that invests in products, services and solutions for the energy and power sectors. It also invests in medical sectors, food, aviation and financial services for the real estate sector.

The event was organized by The Leaders International, a high-profile business magazine and is endorsed by American Leadership Development Association (ALDA), a US-based NGO which showcases leadership at large.

Achievements in more than 30 categories are recognized and honored with a unique award. The winners are selected by high-profile judges from all parts of the world. The event seeks to honor leaders for their exemplary contributions to global growth in economic and leadership development.

Since both the winners could not attend the event in Kuala Lumpur, My Events International Saudi Arabia had arranged for the trophies to be handed over to them by Malaysian Consul General Mohammed Ali bin Selamat in Jeddah.

The consul general told the award winners: “We hope that you attain further excellence in your respective fields. I hope this promotion of bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia will flourish in the future.”

Khashoggi said: “Hopefully, for future GLA events, we will have more awareness of Saudi talent that is hidden in the Kingdom and we will recognize and reward them. Thank you, Dr. Khaled Almaeena and the My Events team for this honor.”

Dahlan said: “This award is a very important bridge between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia because it not only recognizes our achievement but also opens a dialogue and creates awareness about what is really happening in Saudi Arabia beyond the news.

“It is very important that through these kinds of awards and events, we are able to bring nations together and change negative perceptions.”

Almaeena congratulated the winners and said: “These are two very fine young people making a change. Where many do their work in the limelight, they are making a change quietly. We have always recognized people from the West and it is time to look toward the East too. There is so much talent here.”