Dyna.Ai sets its focus on Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector

Dyna.Ai sets its focus on Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector
Dyna.Ai’s immediate goals include embedding AI solutions at the heart of the financial sector and hiring local talent to support operations. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 June 2024
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Dyna.Ai sets its focus on Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector

Dyna.Ai sets its focus on Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector
  • Singaporean AI-powered startup cements its local presence with domestic office

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s financial technology sector is attracting a new breed of artificial intelligence startups aiming to take part in the already booming industry.  

With presence in seven countries, Singaporean AI-powered startup Dyna.Ai is moving its focus to the Saudi fintech market as it aims to cement its local presence with a domestic office. 

In an interview with Arab News, Tomas Skoumal, chairman of Dyna.Ai, shared that the company is in the process of registering in the Saudi market.  

“We are already in the process of securing our registration which we hope will be completed within the next quarter. The feedback from our partners in Saudi Arabia has been extremely encouraging, and we are looking forward to having a physical presence very soon,” Skoumal said. 

The company plans to establish a local office in the Kingdom, reflecting its commitment to the region.  

“We will have an office there and we will be hiring locally. Saudi Arabia is a crucial part of our global growth strategy, and we are committed to supporting job creation as well as building long-term partnerships with our clients,” he said.  

“The financial sector faces numerous challenges, and businesses need to accelerate their transformation rapidly by digitizing services to meet the needs of modern customers,” Skoumal explained. 

Dyna.Ai offers solutions that address these challenges by providing end-to-end offerings through products for customer acquisition, marketing, risk management, and operational productivity.  

Skoumal noted that the company’s Result-as-a-Service business model is designed to ensure clients realize tangible benefits from the deployment of their products.  

“We work with traditional banks, digital banks, fintechs, insurtechs, and other sectors providing various AI-powered solutions,” he said. 

Dyna.Ai’s immediate goals include embedding AI solutions at the heart of the financial sector and hiring local talent to support their operations.

Embedding AI in fintech 

“By investing in domestic talent with a commitment to constantly upskill them, we are excited about the opportunities to demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s commitment and sector leadership to the global AI ecosystem,” Skoumal emphasized.  

 The company’s long-term vision involves creating a significant impact on the Saudi financial services sector, which is projected to benefit from AI advancements significantly.  

“Artificial intelligence solutions are expected to create a $320 billion impact on the Middle East, with the largest gains of $135.2 billion expected to be seen in Saudi Arabia,” Skoumal noted. 

Dyna.Ai’s expansion strategy in Saudi Arabia includes a strong local presence and collaboration with governmental bodies. 

We work with traditional banks, digital banks, fintechs, insurtechs, and other sectors providing various AI-powered solutions.

Tomas Skoumal, chairman of Dyna.Ai

Skoumal explained that the company is already in conversation with government-backed institutions and semi-government entities to tailor their solutions for the Kingdom. 

The company’s growth objectives for the next year include launching the office, expanding their product portfolio, and deepening industry expertise in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and North Africa region.  

“To achieve these objectives, we will invest in our local team and collaborate with government, local partners, academic institutions, and research organizations,” Skoumal said.  

Dyna.Ai has also introduced new products specifically tailored for the Saudi market, including Dyna Avatar and Dyna Athena, which are designed to enhance customer interaction and communication in local dialects. 

“The operating environment for AI businesses is constantly changing, and around the world where we operate, we ensure that we are closely working with policymakers to ensure alignment with local regulations,” Skoumal explained.  

He further praised Saudi Arabia’s advanced and welcoming regulations in the fintech sector that allow businesses to operate in a sandbox while testing services and solutions. 

The Saudi market is pivotal for Dyna.Ai’s due to its rapid adoption of innovative AI solutions and its young, tech-savvy population, Skoumal explained.  

“Saudi Arabia is one of the most exciting markets for technology businesses in the Middle East. The pace of change and adoption of innovative AI solutions is not just inspiring but extremely exciting,” he said. 

“Further, the Kingdom is home to one of the youngest populations in the region with 63 percent under the age of 30,” Skoumal pointed out.

He added that the Kingdom’s geographic location and its role as the region’s largest economy make it an ideal hub for driving AI adoption in the Middle East. 

FASTFACT

The company’s growth objectives for the next year include launching the office, expanding their product portfolio, and deepening industry expertise in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and North Africa region.

Assessing the current market landscape, Skoumal remarked: “The AI sector around the world, and in Saudi Arabia, is still at an early stage. However, the progress of the technology is fascinating, with incredible advances in very short periods.” 
“AI is expected to create a multi-billion dollar impact on the Saudi economy by 2030, and by investing early in the Kingdom, we believe that we will be well positioned to empower work and enrich lives,” he stated. 
Dyna.Ai aspires to not only provide advanced solutions to the financial sector but also to equip Saudi youth with cutting-edge skills and technology access. Looking at future industry trends, Skoumal highlighted several opportunities.  
“The AI and fintech landscape is constantly evolving, with new technologies, competitors, and regulatory requirements emerging regularly. We see increasing demand for AI-driven solutions across industries, expansion of AI applications into new areas, and the emergence of new technologies and business models,” he said. 
These trends present significant opportunities for Dyna.Ai. 
“We are continuously investing in the local market, swiftly refining our localized solutions, establishing a more professional local team, and developing collaborative models that align with local requirements. This approach allows us to maximize our grasp on these opportunities,” Skoumal said. 

Business fundamentals 
Regarding profitability, Skoumal stated: “We have strong unit economics and robust fundamentals. At the moment our focus is on growth, and deploying our solutions with clients. As with the enterprise technology sector, profitability will be achieved as we grow, and our global expansion is a crucial part of this.” 
The motivation behind founding Dyna.Ai stemmed from Skoumal’s extensive experience in the global financial sector.  
“Financial institutions are generally slow to adopt modern technology due to concerns over security, regulations, deployment, and other factors,” he noted.  
While Dyna.Ai is well-capitalized and focused on growth, expansion, and local hiring, Skoumal emphasized that the company is continuously looking for opportunities to innovate and refine its solutions.  
“We are extremely proud of the fact that 50 percent of our workforce is dedicated to research and development efforts, which means we are able to constantly innovate while bringing new solutions and updates to market very quickly,” he highlighted.


Turkiye, Saudi Arabia end $5bn deposit agreement

Turkiye, Saudi Arabia end $5bn deposit agreement
Updated 9 sec ago
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Turkiye, Saudi Arabia end $5bn deposit agreement

Turkiye, Saudi Arabia end $5bn deposit agreement

RIYADH: Turkiye has terminated a $5 billion deposit agreement made with the Saudi Fund for Development as part of a review of its reserve management strategy.

The decision to end the arrangement, finalized with Saudi authorities, is expected to improve Turkiye’s external liabilities by approximately $7 billion through the reduction of deposit balances, according to the country’s central bank.

The original deal was signed off in March 2023, and was intended to provide crucial financial support to the Turkish economy as it grappled with the aftermath of devastating earthquakes and high inflation rates. 

The country’s central bank announced the agreement had been ended as part of a reassessment of Turkiye’s international deposit transactions in a bid to lower its external liabilities.

International reserves are readily available assets controlled by countries’ monetary authorities that can be used for international payments and converted into other currencies, the bank said.

When the deal was initially reached, the Saudi Fund for Development described it as not only underscoring the strong historical ties and cooperation between the two nations, but also showcasing the Kingdom’s commitment to bolstering Turkiye’s economic stability.

Turkiye has been working to strengthen its economic and business relationships with Gulf nations, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as part of its strategy to attract foreign currency inflows. 

On March 3 2023, Turkiye and the UAE signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement to cut 93 percent of tariffs on non-oil trade and increase bilateral trade from $19 billion to $40 billion in the next five years.

Turkiye has struggled with a shortage of international reserves and high inflation rates, impacting living costs. 

In 2022, the Turkish lira depreciated by 30 percent against the dollar, exacerbated by soaring energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkiye is the 17th largest economy in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund, with a GDP of $1.024 trillion as of 2023.

In February 2023, the country contended with the aftermath of severe earthquakes which caused significant casualties, damage, and displacement, with recovery needs estimated at $81.5 billion.

Following the May 2023 elections, Ankara’s new economic team has aimed to address inflation and macroeconomic imbalances. 

The economy grew 4.5 percent in 2023 but is expected to slow to 3 percent this year.

Addressing long-term issues like high inflation, low productivity, and weak foreign investment “would require robust fiscal measures and ambitious structural reforms to help accelerate sustainable economic growth,” the World Bank said earlier in April.


Dubai’s economy grows 3.2%, driven by financial, trade and transport sectors

Dubai’s economy grows 3.2%, driven by financial, trade and transport sectors
Updated 7 min 12 sec ago
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Dubai’s economy grows 3.2%, driven by financial, trade and transport sectors

Dubai’s economy grows 3.2%, driven by financial, trade and transport sectors

RIYADH: Dubai’s economy saw 3.2 percent year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2024, with its gross domestic product reaching 115 billion dirhams ($31.3 billion). 

The transportation and storage sector, as well as the financial and insurance activities sector, each posted a growth rate of 5.6 percent, while the trade sector recorded a 3 percent increase. 

This comes as Dubai’s economy continues its upward trajectory, with significant growth across key sectors, reflecting the government’s strategic agenda to enhance the emirate’s global economic standing and attract foreign investment. 

Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum said the latest GDP figures cement the fact that the emirate showcases robust economic indicators, the Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM, reported. 

“Dubai is progressing in accordance with a clear vision whose foundations were laid down and whose goals were defined by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. What we witness today is a practical reflection of this vision, which has placed Dubai among the leading economic and commercial centers of the world,” said Sheikh Hamdan. 

He added that the accomplishments of the emirate underscore the collaborative endeavors and teamwork of diverse stakeholders in achieving the goals set out in the emirate’s comprehensive development plans for 2033. 

The government’s plans include the Dubai Economic Agenda and Dubai Social Agenda 2033, both aimed at elevating overall well-being and quality of life, while strengthening the emirate’s position as a leading global economic hub and enhancing its appeal as a destination for foreign investments. 

“Dubai’s ambition is limitless, and its success story will remain a role model for cities wishing to create a promising future for their coming generations. Our goal is to sustain success and establish a culture of excellence and leadership across all sectors in the emirate to preserve these gains and move toward new horizons of excellence,” he added. 

Other sectors also contributed to the overall economic expansion, with the information and communications sector rising by 3.9 percent, the accommodation and food services sector increasing by 3.8 percent, and the real estate sector seeing growth of 3.7 percent. 


Riyad Bank introduces first AI center in Saudi banking industry

Riyad Bank introduces first AI center in Saudi banking industry
Updated 48 min 56 sec ago
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Riyad Bank introduces first AI center in Saudi banking industry

Riyad Bank introduces first AI center in Saudi banking industry

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s digital banking has achieved a significant advancement after a leading bank introduced artificial intelligence technology, significantly enhancing its operational efficiency and customer experience.

Riyad Bank announced on July 23 the launch of the first-of-its-kind specialized center for artificial intelligence technologies and services in the Saudi banking sector, known as the Center of Intelligence.

The center will allow the bank and its business sectors to harness the latest AI innovations and derive significant value from advanced, proactive analytical insights, while advancing the bank’s vision with the highest standards of quality and innovation, according to a statement from the financial institution.

The move aligns with the broader national goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030, particularly the Financial Sector Development Program, which works together with the Saudi Central Bank to provide banking services that are more accessible.

The program is committed to contributing to the stability and growth of the banking system to make it even more convenient by investing in technology and offering a wide range of financial products and services.


Education spending up in Saudi Arabia as POS transactions hit $2.9bn 

Education spending up in Saudi Arabia as POS transactions hit $2.9bn 
Updated 12 min 8 sec ago
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Education spending up in Saudi Arabia as POS transactions hit $2.9bn 

Education spending up in Saudi Arabia as POS transactions hit $2.9bn 
  • Education sector saw 10.4% increase, with total value of transactions hitting SR94.1 million
  • POS spending in the Kingdom continued its reverse trajectory, declining by 8.8%

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale spending reached SR10.9 billion ($2.9 billion) in the week ending July 20, with the education sector recording the largest surge, according to official data.

Figures released by the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, revealed that this section of the economy saw a 10.4 percent increase over the seven-day period, with the total value of transactions hitting SR94.1 million.

The data also showed that spending in hotels increased by 0.2 percent compared to the previous seven days to reach SR270.2 million. 

This small rise came after larger increases in the sector in the previous two weeks, with a 17.9 percent surge from June 30 to July 6 and a 3.8 percent jump from July 7 to 13.

Despite growth in these sectors, POS spending in the Kingdom continued its reverse trajectory, declining by 8.8 percent after decreasing the week before by 9.8 percent. 

Spending on construction and building materials dipped by 5.2 percent over the most recent seven-day period, representing the smallest decrease of any sector compared to the previous week, to reach SR312.6 million.

The health sector witnessed the second-smallest dip, recording a 10.2 percent drop to come in at SR696.3 million.

Spending on clothing and footwear ranked joint-third in decline, along with electric devices, with both categories recording an 11.3 percent drop.

The highest value decrease was seen in the telecommunication sector, which posted a transaction total of SR89.5 million following a 13 percent drop.

Restaurant and cafe outlays dominated POS spending with SR1.67 billion, followed by SR1.64 billion on food and beverages, and SR1.41 billion on miscellaneous goods and services. Combined, these three categories account for 43.27 percent of the total POS spending value.

According to data from SAMA, 33.2 percent of POS spending occurred in Riyadh, with the total transaction value reaching SR3.63 billion, representing a 7.1 percent decline from the previous week.

Spending in Jeddah followed, accounting for 14.4 percent of the total and reaching SR1.58 billion, marking a 7.7 percent weekly negative change.

Expenditures in Hail, Tabuk, and Buraidah decreased by 14 percent, 12.4 percent, and 9.7 percent, respectively, with the figures reaching SR168.2 million, SR189.3 million, and SR249.6 million.

The smallest decrease was recorded in Makkah, which saw a 3.9 percent weekly change to come in at SR441.4 million.


Oil Updates – prices hover near lowest in 6 weeks

Oil Updates – prices hover near lowest in 6 weeks
Updated 24 July 2024
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Oil Updates – prices hover near lowest in 6 weeks

Oil Updates – prices hover near lowest in 6 weeks

LONDON: Oil prices traded around their lowest level in six weeks on Wednesday, as the northern hemisphere gets deeper into summer with limited signs of the expected fuel consumption surge the period usually sees.

Wednesday saw only a slight reprieve, as prices snapped three straight sessions of decline on falling US crude inventories and growing supply risks from wildfires in Canada boosted prices.

Brent crude futures for September rose 66 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $81.67 a barrel by 11:08 a.m. Saudi time. US West Texas Intermediate crude for September increased 65 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $77.61 per barrel.

The likely reason for the wider sell-off has been the “diminishing hopes of demand resurrection,” with “an admission from refiners that the summer leap in consumption is simply not taking place,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

Prices had fallen to a six-week low on Tuesday, with Brent closing at its lowest level since June 9 on ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas in a plan outlined by US President Joe Biden in May and mediated by Egypt and Qatar.

Prices also suffered due to continued concern that the economic slowdown in China, the world’s biggest crude importer, would weaken global oil demand.

WTI had lost 7 percent over the previous three sessions, while Brent shed nearly 5 percent.

US crude oil, gasoline and distillate inventories fell for the fourth straight week in the previous week, according to market sources citing the American Petroleum Institute, reflecting steady demand in the world’s largest consumer of oil.

Wildfires in Canada were also supporting prices. The fires have forced some producers to curtail production and were threatening a large amount of supply, ING analysts said.

“Market is nearing oversold territory and we still believe that the fundamentals support prices moving higher from current levels over the remainder of the third quarter on the back of a deficit environment,” ING analysts said in a note.

The API figures showed crude stocks falling by 3.9 million barrels in the week ended July 19, the market sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Gasoline inventories fell by 2.8 million barrels and distillates shed 1.5 million barrels.

That would be the first time crude stocks in the US fell for four weeks in a row since September 2023.

Official government data on oil inventory data is due for release on Wednesday.