Mastercard appoints new General Manager for MENA

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Mastercard appoints new General Manager for MENA

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.