SAMA gears up to make Saudi Arabia the regional fintech hub: top official

Exclusive SAMA gears up to make Saudi Arabia the regional fintech hub: top official
The banking authority is working with local and international entities to help support the fintech ecosystem in the Kingdom (File)
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Updated 28 July 2022

SAMA gears up to make Saudi Arabia the regional fintech hub: top official

SAMA gears up to make Saudi Arabia the regional fintech hub: top official

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, is planning to make Saudi Arabia a regional financial technology hub as part of its strategy to implement the Financial Sector Development Program envisaged in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 blueprint, a top official said.

Speaking exclusively to Arab News, SAMA’s Deputy Governor for Development and Technology Ziad Al Yousef said that the central bank is developing regulations to address new business models to assist and guide entrepreneurs in the payments, investments and financing sector.

“We have issued 11 new regulations in the last two years to support new fintech ideas and business models. This is a continuous journey, and we are going to accelerate this now with the approval of the national fintech strategy that is now part of vision 2030,” Al Yousef said.

Al Yousef further stated that SAMA had also nurtured 12 companies from different domains as a part of the fintech accelerator program.

He added that the banking authority is working with local and international entities to help support the fintech ecosystem in the Kingdom.

“There are different initiatives, which include initiatives related to talent development, raising the funding for fintech companies and creating partnerships with local and international players,” he said.

 

Last month, the Ministry of Finance stated that under the national fintech strategy, the number of firms is expected to increase from 82 to 230 by 2025.

It also seeks to increase the fintech sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product to SR4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) and create nearly 6,000 jobs by 2025, besides increasing the share of digital transactions to 70 percent of all financial dealings.

The strategy aspires to raise the cumulative value of venture capital investments in fintech companies to reach SR2.6 billion by 2025 to boost domestic and foreign investment and create nearly 18,000 jobs by 2030.

In addition to raising the sector’s contribution to the GDP to SR13 billion by 2030, the new plan also aims at increasing investments in fintech companies to SR12 billion.

The Kingdom has been performing well in terms of digitizing financial transactions after it surpassed the expected 55 percent with 57 percent in 2021.

Moreover, the number of fintech companies increased to 30 in the digital payment sector, with the number of payments executed via smart devices on point-of-sale terminals rising by 282 percent in 2021.

Future solutions that will boost the execution of the strategy include payments, capital market services, lending, insurance and data.

The Financial Sector Development Program was launched in 2017 to enable financial institutions to support the growth of the private sector, develop an advanced capital market, and boost and enable financial planning.

 


IMF to open a regional office in Saudi Arabia

IMF to open a regional office in Saudi Arabia
Updated 22 sec ago

IMF to open a regional office in Saudi Arabia

IMF to open a regional office in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The International Monetary Fund will open a regional office in Saudi Arabia as both parties prepare to sign a memorandum of understanding in this regard on Oct. 3 in Riyadh. 

The MoU, to be signed between the Saudi Arabian ministry of finance and the IMF, will be followed by a joint press conference at Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, a ministry release said. 

The opening of a new regional office in Saudi Arabia holds significance as the IMF expects the Kingdom to become one of the world's fastest-growing economies, recording a growth of 7.6 percent in the gross domestic product this year.

It should be also noted that credit rating agency S&P has affirmed Saudi Arabia’s rating at “A-/A-2” with a positive outlook citing higher oil revenues, rising oil production, and the government’s robust reform program.


Saudi Arabia to host ICAO Air Services Negotiation conference in  2023

Saudi Arabia to host ICAO Air Services Negotiation conference in  2023
Updated 5 min 55 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to host ICAO Air Services Negotiation conference in  2023

Saudi Arabia to host ICAO Air Services Negotiation conference in  2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations of the International Civil Aviation Organization in December 2023, in Riyadh, as the Kingdom leapfrogs in the aviation sector in line with the goals outlined in its Vision 2030. 

Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabian Minister of Transport and Logistics, said that the conference will be an important platform for member states to discuss ways of organizing and managing the air transport sector, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

“Choosing the Kingdom to host the International Conference on Air Services Negotiations 2023 is an affirmation of the Kingdom’s position and its effective contributions in the aviation sector at the global level, and in appreciation of its efforts to enhance air connectivity in line with the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services, which is based on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Al-Jasser added. 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been elected to the membership of the Council of ICAO for the period 2023-2024-2025. 

The decision was made during the 41st General Assembly of the organization held in Montreal, Canada. 

The Kingdom was reelected after a voting process with the participation of 193 member states of the UN to find a position in the ICAO Council comprising 36 members. 

“Since the establishment of the first airline in the Kingdom in 1945, the Kingdom, with the unlimited support of the wise leadership, has proven its commitment and tireless work toward the sector of aviation both domestically and internationally,” Al-Jasser further said. 

He added that the Kingdom is now working in line with the vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by consolidating its global leadership role in the sector. 

The civil aviation strategic plan is one of the most crucial goals outlined in Vision 2030. 

According to the civil aviation strategic plan, the Kingdom is aiming for 330 million passengers annually and 250 destinations around the world by 2030.


TASI starts the week higher as traders watch the market: Opening bell

TASI starts the week higher as traders watch the market: Opening bell
Updated 02 October 2022

TASI starts the week higher as traders watch the market: Opening bell

TASI starts the week higher as traders watch the market: Opening bell

RIYADH: The Saudi main index ticked up on Thursday, but September still marked a dismal month for the stock exchange, marked by persistent inflation, unstable gas prices, and aggressive Fed hikes.

The Tadawul All Share Index ended September dropping 7 percent over the course of the month to reach 12,283 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session. 

This is despite closing the last session of September in green, with a 2.11 percent gain.

Other Gulf markets also ended Thursday’s session in green. The Qatari index closed 1.2 percent higher while Abu Dhabi’s index added 0.4 percent.

In spite of this, there was a 0.8 percent drop in Dubai’s main share index.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index climbed 1.3 percent on Thursday, reversing six straight losses.

Stock news

Nahdi Medical Co. established Al-Sakhaa Integrated Solutions Co., owned by its subsidiaries in Egypt, to support the company's business and strategy.

The Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. signed SR166 million ($44 million) agreement with Italian-based Toscotec for a raw tissue paper roll production line.

Tourism Enterprise Co. and SHUAA Capital Saudi Arabia extended their MoU to buy three hotels in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam for an additional period starting, Sept. 30, until Nov. 30, 2022.

Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co. and UK-based WPP plc delayed their agreement to create a Bahrain-based holding group via a merger until Oct. 31, 2022.

Unitholders of Saudi Economic and Development Securities Co. will receive a cash dividend of SR0.18 per unit for the period from July 2 to Sep. 30th 2022. 

Retal Urban Development Co.’s shareholders approved a cash dividend of SR2 per share for the first half of 2022.

Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. settled all Zakat claims for the years 2000-2010.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday
Updated 02 October 2022

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

RIYADH: The Saudi main index ticked up on Thursday, but September still marked a dismal month for the stock exchange, marked by persistent inflation, unstable gas prices, and aggressive Fed hikes.

The Tadawul All Share Index ended September dropping 7 percent over the course of the month to reach 12,283 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session. 

This is despite closing the last session of September in green, with a 2.11 percent gain.

Other Gulf markets also ended Thursday’s session in green. The Qatari index closed 1.2 percent higher while Abu Dhabi’s index added 0.4 percent.

In spite of this, there was a 0.8 percent drop in Dubai’s main share index.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index climbed 1.3 percent on Thursday, reversing six straight losses.

Stock news

Nahdi Medical Co. established Al-Sakhaa Integrated Solutions Co., owned by its subsidiaries in Egypt, to support the company's business and strategy.

The Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. signed SR166 million ($44 million) agreement with Italian-based Toscotec for a raw tissue paper roll production line.

Tourism Enterprise Co. and SHUAA Capital Saudi Arabia extended their MoU to buy three hotels in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam for an additional period starting, Sept. 30, until Nov. 30, 2022.

Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co. and UK-based WPP plc delayed their agreement to create a Bahrain-based holding group via a merger until Oct. 31, 2022.

Unitholders of Saudi Economic and Development Securities Co. will receive a cash dividend of SR0.18 per unit for the period from July 2 to Sep. 30th 2022. – remove as old?

Retal Urban Development Co.’s shareholders approved a cash dividend of SR2 per share for the first half of 2022.

Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. settled all Zakat claims for the years 2000-2010.


Saudi Paper signs $44m deal for tissue paper rolls with Italy’s Toscotec

Saudi Paper signs $44m deal for tissue paper rolls with Italy’s Toscotec
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi Paper signs $44m deal for tissue paper rolls with Italy’s Toscotec

Saudi Paper signs $44m deal for tissue paper rolls with Italy’s Toscotec

RIYADH: Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. has signed an agreement with Italy-based Toscotec for the production and supply of a tissue paper production line for the total cost of SR166 million ($44 million).

The deal is part of a letter of understanding both companies signed in June to purchase the fifth production line in Dammam 2nd Industrial City, which will produce tissue rolls with a capacity of 60,000 tons annually for SR300 million.

Upon signing the SR166 deal, Saudi Paper will make an advance payment within two months maximum, and the remaining amount will be paid in installments, corresponding to delivery, installation, receipt, and final operation.

As part of the contract, the company will receive a performance guarantee from the supplier for 16 months from the signing date.

The transaction will increase the company's tissue paper roll production capacity from 130,000 tons per annum to 190,000 tpa, in order to meet the needs of the local market and to expand exports.

In addition to the proceeds from the sale of some non-operating assets, the deal will be financed mainly from the company's operating revenues and the proceeds from the sale of certain non-operating assets, as well as proceeds from legal claims, for which judgments were awarded in favor of the company.

Banks and local finance agencies will also play a role in obtaining part of the funding for this project.

The financial impact of the project will become apparent from the fourth quarter of 2022.

Toscotec is one of the world's leading tissue paper producers and offers the latest technologies and solutions. With this eco-friendly technology, maximum production efficiency is achieved, consumption is reduced, operating costs are reduced, and final products are of the highest quality.