Here is a Recap of Some Interesting Recent Fintech Webinars from the GCC by Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times
Event Analysis Fintech Middle East & Africa

Analysis: Recent Fintech Webinars from the Gulf Cooperation Council Region

Despite the global travel restrictions and limitations on movement, coupled with social distancing, the past few months nonetheless migrated many events to both digital and virtual. It has, in effect, been business as usual. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region there were some interesting topics discussed via webinars.

From how to combat the ongoing issues of Co-VID 19 in the business community to international trade and investment missions and collaborations, these are some of the recent webinars that have taken place in the region:

Saudi Arabia and the financial services sector

The financial services sector in Saudi Arabia has been a vital support to SMEs and the economy during the pandemic, and this has shown that resilient finance departments are critical when it comes to supporting organizations as they recover from the impact of COVID-19. Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s financial institutions and government stretched out a helping hand to residents and business owners through numerous initiatives as ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic grew. One of which was a recent exclusive webinar called “Saudi On The Road To Recovery: The Importance Of Strong Finance Departments” hosted by Forbes Middle East in partnership with Oracle.

The webinar brought together some of the region’s most respected financial experts to discuss. The speakers list included the following: Talat Hafiz, Secretary General Media & Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks; Hisham Al-Akil, CFO at Bank Albilad; and Mathew Pearce, CFO at Saudi British Bank. The webinar was hosted by Aarti Mohan, Director ERP-EPM Cloud Applications Strategy at Oracle, and Daniyal Baig, CFO at Forbes Middle East.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of the following six countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of the following six countries – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman IMAGE SOURCE GETTY

Decoding the Future of Money: Fintech, digital assets and transformed currencies

There was a recent episode of “Business Transformation Explained” where top personalities from fintech and digital assets space and discussed the future of money. It was hosted by Daniel Solomon and Kareem Monem, with planned guests including Patrick Campos (CSO Securrency), Bill Ashlock (Bosa Advisors) where the future of money was discussed. It offered thought-provoking conversations about the context of digital assets, and innovation, insights on security and regulations.

According to its webpage, the modern world is defined by an expanding and deepening digital connectivity. Smart products, expanding mobile data networks and ever-more powerful application technologies mean that people now live and spend differently. With the increased need for contactless payments, the rise of digital literacy amongst users and the convenience of fast-online-service, the regulators and the fintech space is on a race to find the best solutions to meet the demand for disruption and the need for data security and transparency.

Dubai Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) discusses investment opportunities in vital sectors with Australia

There were a series of webinars organised by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, that targeted businesspersons and investors in Australia to explore the opportunities and partnership potential in the food & agribusiness, healthcare, logistics, and technology sectors in Dubai, particularly following COVID-19 pandemic. Organised in partnership with the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) and the Australian Business Council Dubai (ABC Dubai), the webinars replaced a Dubai FDI mission to Australia that was scheduled for June 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Dubai Team for Global Promotional Investment Missions and Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of Dubai Economy attended the webinars. In addition, other Dubai organisations that participated included Dubai Future Foundation, Smart Dubai, and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The Islamic Development Bank Group and the UAE Ministry of Economy Discuss the Challenges During Co-VID 19 Outbreak

We recently published on a previous Fintech Times article that the Islamic Development Bank Group in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy recently conducted a live webinar entitled “IsDB Group Private Sector Action Response to COVID-19” on the 6th of July to discuss the challenges facing the private sector and global economy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The webinar presented the immediate joint action response of the IsDB Group Private Sector Entities namely, the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credits (ICIEC), Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK Saudi Fintech Week

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Saudi Arabia hosted a Virtual UK-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Fintech Week recently with key stakeholders and innovators from the industry in both countries to discuss best practice on developing a vibrant Fintech ecosystem in the Kingdom and how the UK can support.

From a separate interview we at the Fintech Times did with Salim Kawadri, the Head of Investment at the Department for International Trade‘s office in Saudi Arabia, which is based at the British Embassy in Riyadh, he said, “During the week, we arranged five virtual sessions.  These included an introduction to Vision 2030 and the financial services sector development plans by the Saudi government; a roundtable with key Saudi businesses to outline opportunities and challenges in Saudi Fintech; a policy and regulatory dialogue on Fintech, connecting leading UK and Saudi policy makers to share best practice; and trade and investment panel sessions with UK fintechs and VCs.”

Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData launched ‘SME Insights’

Gulf Capital SME Insights, a new digital initiative by Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData, has been launched to support the region’s small and medium enterprise (SME) economy. The digital platform will provide access to invaluable resources and host experts for live discussions on critical topics relevant to SMEs navigating a challenging financial climate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their 9th year of supporting and celebrating SMEs, Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData have come together to launch a multi-channel programme of activity to provide SMEs with the information, intelligence and support to make efficient business decisions and adapt corporate strategies to achieve success following COVID-19. This was also recently mentioned by us in a separate article.

Andra Public Relations kicks off their FinTech Series 2020 Edition in partnership with Brinc Batelco

Andra Public Relations, a Bahrain based Public Relations firm, kicked off their virtual FinTech Series 2020 Edition in partnership with Brinc Batelco. The 6th Virtual FinTech series was titled “Employee Financial Wellness: what is it and why is it important for businesses?” The event highlighted why businesses should have an employee Financial Wellness Strategy in place, and the advantages of educating and empowering employees to make the right financial decisions.

The series featured Sanat Agarwal, CEO of SimplyFI Middle East, Dania Al Showaikh, Marketing Manager of Tarabut Gateway and Sana Haji, Senior Business Development Manager at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance. Each speaker shared their insights from a general, corporate and psychological perspective of why employee financial wellness is critical, especially amidst this crisis.

The Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance (BIBF) successfully concluded its first virtual forum

Under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance (BIBF) successfully concluded its first virtual forum, entitled: “Achieving Excellence in a Pandemic,”which was powered by Batelco.

Over 350 executives and business professionals from various sectors around the world attended the virtual forum. It provided an outlook on COVID-19 from a national and global perspective, as well as shed light on how to overcome challenges and attain business continuity.


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