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.