Saudi Arabia ‘holds 10 times more fintech companies than planned’

Saudi Arabia ‘holds 10 times more fintech companies than planned’
The Saudi government approved the licenses to two digital banks in the Kingdom in June, with one owned by telecommunications giant STC. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 July 2021

Saudi Arabia ‘holds 10 times more fintech companies than planned’

Saudi Arabia ‘holds 10 times more fintech companies than planned’
  • Saudi Arabia is aiming to focus on the digitalization of its financial sector

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has 30 fintech companies today under Saudi Central Bank supervision, ten times more than the original target of three, director general of the Financial Sector Development Program, Faisal Al-Sharif, told CNBC Arabia on Sunday.

The Saudi fintech initiative’s main role is to support companies entering the financial technology sector and to create an attractive environment for financing from different sources, he said.

Saudi Arabia is focusing on the digitalization of its financial sector. The Saudi government approved the licenses to two digital banks in the Kingdom in June, with one owned by telecommunications giant STC.

The Financial Sector Development Program, which Al-Sharif heads, aims at enabling local financial technology companies and raising the amount of digital transactions within the banking sector.

While the program targets the listing of 25 new companies on the Saudi stock exchange by 2025, its other goal is to improve the listing process for companies, Al-Sharif added.

It also aims to improve the infrastructure for digital transactions, and has already seen a 36 percent improvement compared with past results, Al-Sharif said, adding that this percentage is still increasing. He said that 95 percent of investment accounts have been opened electronically.

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who is also chairman of the Financial Sector Development Program, said that the progress “reflects the leadership’s keenness to keep pace with the rapid development in the fintech sector and to empower the Kingdom to be among the largest financial hubs in the world.”