Expo 2020 Dubai is showcasing innovations across its themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability. Countries from across the world are taking part and highlighting their wider economic development. The following will spotlight Thailand and Israel.
In terms of the financial services industry and specifically fintech and wider digital, how is Expo 2020 Dubai spotlighting countries such as Israel and Thailand? The first expo or world’s fair in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) is making headlines and bringing people from across the world to learn more about opportunity, mobility and sustainability.
As reported in the media, the more than 3,600-square-metre Thailand pavilion’s theme is ‘Mobility for the future.’ It will allow for the country focus on their new economic model. The economic development strategy, Thailand 4.0, is a 20-year strategic plan that aims to revitalise sectors using creativity, innovation and new technology.
According to Dr. Passakon Prathombutr, Senior Executive Vice President/CTO at Digital Economy Promotion Agency, “Due to recent changes in customer behaviour, including the rise in popularity of e-commerce, digital payments and instant payments, Thailand has experienced a finch revolution. We are now one of Asia’s leaders in fintech innovations and we are leading in the way in creating inclusive digital financial services that are also in line with our plans for Thailand 4.0.
Thailand’s leading private banks have adopted the national PromptPay e-payment system while The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) intends to set the standard for future digital currency adoption, and the crypto/NFT exchange service. In general, the industry as a whole is attempting to encourage more diversity within the financial sector. Our ‘Moving for the Future’ exhibit highlights the country’s potential as a digital hub for Southeast Asia and we encourage fintech companies and startups to use our pavilion as a space for collaboration and discussion.”
As a whole, Thailand has made fintech headlines such as this past July where the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Luxembourg Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on information sharing regarding fintech and innovation in their respective financial markets. In addition, Bank Indonesia (BI) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) have launched a cross-border QR payment linkage between Indonesia and Thailand. Under this linkage, consumers and merchants in both countries will be able to make and accept instant cross-border QR payments for goods and services.
The Israeli pavilion is a 1,550-sqm open trapezoidal steel paneled structure. It is reported the mount resembles the shape of sand dunes and sheltered Middle Eastern streets, drawing inspiration from the wider Middle East arid landscapes.
Israel has made headlines in the region fairly recently, notably last year with the Abraham Accords that established diplomatic ties with expo host country the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – later adding to the list Morocco and Sudan.
As highlighted in The Fintech Times Fintech: Middle East and Africa 2021 Report, Israel’s largest city, Tel Aviv – is a major financial centre and its reputation as a startup hub developing innovation is recognised globally. In terms of the financial ecosystem in Tel Aviv and wider Israel, the country has a noticeable sector that includes financial services, fintech and wider tech.
Israel is often referred to as a ‘startup nation’ as it has a high concentration of startups – at least 6,000 per capita or 1,400 startups per person – which is the highest in the world.
According to a report from Deloitte, 2,000 startups in Israel were founded in the past decade with another 3,000 small and medium-sized startups and high-tech companies (30 growth companies).
According to Erez Saf, CRiskCo’s CEO, which is a platform that aids the customer by providing automated financial insights, credit reports and ongoing monitoring, “With over 600 companies managing all parts of finance, and coming from various communities all around Israel, Israel fintech is made up of a diversified network of entrepreneurs. Finance technology is a fast-paced sector that is breaking records in terms of the amount of money invested in fintech businesses and the number of companies that have listed on Nasdaq and Tel Aviv Stock Exchanges (TASE). We at CRiskCo, developed “Open Accounting,” a single API to major accounting systems and financial data repositories, to help banks and credit providers better understand the demands and financial position of small businesses.”
Just like the Israel pavilion exhibits our diversity of people and cultures, CRiskCo allows banks to connect and encourage more diversity of small enterprises and help young entrepreneurs from different backgrounds fulfill their dreams.”
Expo 2020 Dubai is being held from the 1st October 2021 until the 31st March 2022.
Stay tuned for the future series here, which is being presented by Economic Development Advisor Richie Santosdiaz and journalist Tyler Smith.
If you want to contribute your country pavilion that hasn’t been featured yet feel free to contact our MEA content newsdesk [email protected]