MEFTECH 2019 to support fintech growth in KSA

Over the years, the event has brought together more than 8,000 financial industry executives and over 1,000 technology providers in the region.
Updated 11 February 2019
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MEFTECH 2019 to support fintech growth in KSA

MEFTECH, the longest-running banking and financial technology event in the MENA Region, will return to Riyadh from Feb. 24-25 at the Four Seasons Riyadh for its second edition in the Kingdom. MEFTECH is initiated by mada, the national payment network, and SADAD Payment and aims to highlight and support the rapidly developing payments, e-commerce and retail industry in the Kingdom.

The fintech industry is an integral part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 digital transformation program. According to a recent study by MENA Research Partners (MRP), private-funding investments in GCC-based fintech startups is expected to reach $2 billion in the next decade, and the number of fintech companies across the MENA region is expected to double from 130 to 260 over the next two years.

MEFTECH 2019 presented by STC Pay will address trends and issues within the fintech sector focusing on digital economy, blockchain, mobile payments and artificial intelligence (AI) within the e-commerce industry. This edition also marks the launch of the MEFTECH Innovation Awards, which celebrate the achievements and innovation in the Saudi Arabian fintech ecosystem. The awards will recognize the best local bank or financial institution within 10 different categories and the winners will be selected by the panel of independent expert judges. 

MEFTECH Payments will have a dedicated Fintech Start-Up Zone in partnership with Fintech Galaxy — a MENA-focused digital crowdsourcing platform that connects Fintech entrepreneurs to financial institutions. The Fintech Start-Up Zone will provide a platform to early stage startups from across the MENA region to exhibit and present their ideas or products to potential investors, government officials and industry experts.

Ziyad Al-Yousef, managing director, Saudi Payments, said: “The Kingdom, through the fintech Saudi initiative aims to transform into an innovative fintech hub with a thriving ecosystem driven by local and international stakeholders. Furthermore, the government has implemented multiple reforms to promote the digitalization of financial services and drive toward a cashless society which is a game-changing initiative within the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Ahmed Alenazi, vice president of business, STC Pay — a digital financial services company in the Kingdom and sponsor of MEFTECH 2019 — said: “It is essential for the Kingdom to steadily shift toward a cashless society as it enables transparency within the financial sector and supports modernization of payments infrastructure which are key catalysts for economic development. STC Pay is a significant step toward digitizing and building a secure, seamless payments service across the Kingdom. At STC Pay, we aim to provide new and innovative technologies and digital experiences to our customers and empower individuals to take full control of their finances.”

Over the years, the event has brought together more than 8,000 financial industry executives and over 1,000 technology providers in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Top CEO Conference & Awards wraps up in Bahrain

Updated 17 April 2019
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Top CEO Conference & Awards wraps up in Bahrain

The Top CEO Conference & Awards 2019, organized by TRENDS magazine — Mediaquest and international business school INSEAD, has concluded at the Al-Areen Palace and Spa in Bahrain. The event, held on Thursday, included seven key panel discussions under the theme “Growth in a Volatile Future” as well as the Top CEO Awards 2019 ceremony, which recognized the region’s most successful and trendsetting CEOs from more than 700 companies listed on GCC stock exchanges.

Top business leaders and more than 30 speakers from across the GCC shed light on the Middle East’s dynamic but volatile region and the burning issues facing the corporate world today. This year’s theme focused on a score of relevant issues, such as oil price fluctuations, tech disruptions, armed and political schisms that pose new risks, and opportunities. Speakers such as renowned economist Professor Nouriel Roubini provided growth solutions and road maps for businesses in the GCC region.

Alexandre Hawari, CEO of Mediaquest, said: “In its fifth edition, the Top CEO Conference & Awards fully encapsulated the theme of ‘Growth in a Volatile Future’ by acknowledging and exploring the growth transformation that the region is undergoing through digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution amid geopolitical tensions, looming trade wars and a rapidly evolving business environment. Building on the huge success of the previous years, the Top CEO Awards 2019 recognized CEOs and companies who have raised the bar by navigating challenges, implementing new strategies, and have demonstrated unquestionable growth, profitability and excellence in corporate governance.”

The conference kicked off with an opening keynote from Jassim Al-Seddiqi, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group and chairman of GFH Financial Group, who delved into the potential of transforming the region into a fintech hub and the importance of jumping on the digital bandwagon. 

The prime panel discussion on the “Future of Growth Amid Volatility” brought together five CEOs who explored methods to create future-proof strategies that can not only tackle challenges but also boost growth in a tough geopolitical and economic climate. 

Hisham Al-Rayes, CEO and board member of the GFH Financial Group, said: “Investing in the future in areas such as fintech, education and technology, the foundations for strong, enduring knowledge-based economies, is a priority for the group and the governments of the region in which we invest.”

“The Blockchain Opportunity” and “The Human Factor and Tech Innovation” panels brought together industry experts from Facebook, the Bahrain FinTech Bay and King Abdul Aziz University. 

“The Future of Women’s Business Leadership” panel discussed positive strides taken by GCC governments and businesses in leveling the playing field for women professionals.