In line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 to support entrepreneurship and the enhancement of financial technology (fintech) services, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) launched the FintechSaudi initiative on Sunday at its Riyadh headquarters. The initiative aims to support the fintech ecosystem in order to promote the Kingdom as a fintech hub embracing a thriving, responsible ecosystem of banks, investors, companies, colleges, and state institutions; thereby contributing to the support of financial inclusion and the rise of digital transactions.
The ceremony, which was sponsored by His Excellency the Governor of SAMA Dr. Ahmed bin Abdulkarim Alkholifey, was attended by His Excellency the Minister of Trade and Investment Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, as well as a number of officials from the government and private sectors, in addition to a crowd of fintech experts and specialists from within the Kingdom and abroad.
Through the initiative, SAMA aims to promote the small and medium enterprises sector, diversify the local economy, and create job opportunities. The initiative aspires to achieve a number of objectives, the most prominent of which are: launching the first version of the Kingdom's fintech system; educating individuals and inspiring them to develop their knowledge and skills in the fintech field; and supporting local banks, international fintech companies, and partners to establish diverse fintech activities in the Kingdom.
"Although ATMs, credit cards, online banking services and cellular phones are all products that use fintech, today we are witnessing tangible progress in the fintech field. This progress is driven by the growth in the use of big data and smart phones, the increase in demand for financial services that suit consumers' personal aspirations, and the appearance of new technical trends such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, which will lead to a major shift in the provision of fintech services," Alkholifey explained.
He added: "The Kingdom is currently undergoing significant structural developments included in Vision 2030, which aims to make our country a pioneering model on all levels – including the financial and economic field – through the optimal use of all available resources, the diversification of income sources, the increased participation of the private sector in development, and the localization of jobs. Because of this, the financial sector will play a key role in supporting the programs and projects of the vision's financial and economic objectives, which requires the constant development of banking and financial services to keep up with the developmental growth in other economic sectors."
For his part, His Excellency the Vice Governor of SAMA Mr. Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al-Furaih stated: "Fintech Saudi seeks to build on the successes achieved by the Kingdom's financial services sector in order to achieve three main objectives: to accelerate the growth and development of fintech in the Kingdom to make the country a destination of innovation in this field, to establish a comprehensive understanding of fintech in the Kingdom and support the development of small and medium enterprises specialized in fintech, and to create fintech products and services to support small and medium companies across the Kingdom." Al-Furaih added that there is a need to form a broad understanding of fintech throughout the Kingdom and inspire youth in this field to ensure that they have the knowledge, expertise and trust to either establish companies specialized in fintech or work and innovate within them.
Throughout the coming period, Fintech Saudi is expected to implement a number of educational and awareness workshops and activities targeting college students, investors, companies, and banks to introduce the initiative and the extent of its contribution towards the creation of a breakthrough in the provision of fintech services. The initiative aims to make the Kingdom a major fintech destination with an emerging fintech system supported by Fintech Saudi and relevant parties, and it is concerned with developing local fintech companies to advance globally.
Within this framework, Fintech Saudi plans to organize a campaign to raise awareness about its objectives and activities on 7 May 2018. Those wishing to attend the event can register through the initiative's website (www.fintechsaudi.com) or through its official Twitter account (@fintechsaudi).
Fintech Saudi is an ambitious national initiative that seeks to create a quantum leap in the fintech sector and develop a culture of innovation in this field by creating a thriving, responsible ecosystem driven by local and international stakeholders. It also aims to enable investors both inside and outside the Kingdom to invest in companies specialized in the fintech field, in addition to contributing to the creation of job opportunities and supporting fintech companies throughout all development stages in order to enhance both the fintech ecosystem and national socioeconomic development.