Halalah secures SAMA’s fintech license

Esam Al-Nahdi Founder and CEO of Halalah
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Updated 24 March 2020

Halalah secures SAMA’s fintech license

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) announced last week that Halalah has successfully attained the full e-money institution license (EMI) in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-based fintech company has been operating in the local market previously under a sandbox trial period license. Halalah managed to “graduate” from the trial period ahead of schedule after complying with all regulatory requirements that focused on the maturity of product, the structure of the company, the agility of its processes and the security of its infrastructure.
“Halalah is not your typical startup, as it has gone through a long journey in a short period of time to reach where it is today,” said Founder and CEO Esam Al-Nahdi. Starting in Saudi Arabia with clear ambitions for the regional fintech market, the company got licensed in UAE in 2017 by the FSRA’s Fintech RegLab in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), before coming back to Saudi Arabia to get SAMA’s sandbox approval in the first quarter of 2018, to kick-start its operations in November 2018.
“Throughout 2019, Halalah managed to institutionalize its operating model, and build a robust infrastructure and product engine, as well as striking a few strategic partnerships that will cater to the needs of the new generation of customers and putting the company in the right position to achieve its local, regional and global plans,” added Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Maher Loubieh.
With the full license now obtained, “the next milestone in Saudi Arabia is to relaunch Halalah KSA with a new set of financial services and products that will enable customers to manage their finances and do transactions through Halalah,” said Al-Nahdi.


Digital transformation to create 1 million Saudi jobs

Updated 21 September 2020

Digital transformation to create 1 million Saudi jobs

Speakers and experts at an international conference revealed that an estimated 1 million jobs are expected to be created in the Kingdom over the next five years, due to the acceleration of digital transformation in several industries and sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nasser bin Suleiman Al-Nasser, chief executive of the STC Group and head of the Digital Transformation Working Group of the Saudi B20 business group, participated in an interactive session titled “Digital Transformation: The Future After the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which was held recently and included the participation of representatives from the B20 business group in 20 countries.

Al-Nasser explained that future jobs will depend entirely on technology and innovation, noting the gender disparity in the field of technology. It is therefore significant to empower women entrepreneurs and work together with governments to create targeted employment programs, designed to involve and qualify women in the technical sector while encouraging their promotion to leadership positions.

“We need to ensure that young women receive training and guidance when they enter the job market or start their own businesses, and the Kingdom has adopted many initiatives and investments to qualify young men and women through education,” he said. “In 2019, the Kingdom allocated SR1 billion ($266 million) to support universities in preparing students for the job market.”

The Saudi B20 and OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) organized a virtual meeting, where a number of key government actors and G20 members presented recommendations and exchanged experiences on future investments, digital transformation, sustainability and 5G-based digital solutions.

The Saudi business group is committed to providing recommendations that promote the implementation of robust policies through transparent dialogue and constructive cooperation with all relevant parties, supported by a group of international organizations that act as knowledge and communication experts. It is the official platform of the business community at the G20 summit, and plays a representative role for the private sector before the group.

Maadad Al-Ajmi, head of the working group of the B20 Saudi Arabia Integrity and Compliance and vice president and general counsel for legal affairs at STC, participated in a session dedicated to compliance and integrity. Nasser Al-Jareed, head of the Workers’ Communication Group of the B20 and director of the Workers’ Committees Support Program at STC, was also a participant.

The Kingdom has taken qualitative steps toward ensuring a speedy development toward digital transformation through the adoption of state-of-the-art telecommunications and ICT technology, thereby facilitating the transformation toward a knowledge economy and e-commerce. These efforts ultimately aim to achieve higher satisfaction rates and quality of living for both citizens and residents, facilitating their everyday lives.