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Saudi British Joint Business Council Leads UK Fintech Delegation to Riyadh

Private sector-led business association, the Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC UK), is leading a delegation of 30 UK fintech companies and investors to Riyadh from 29 to 31 January.

Co-sponsored by Saudi Awwal Bank and Riyadh-based payment solutions provider Geidea, and supported by the UK’s Department for Business & Trade, the Saudi Ministry of Communications & IT and Fintech Saudi, the three-day mission will include meetings with key stakeholders and potential partners.

It becomes the second fintech mission that SBJBC has led to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and among the largest of any one country to visit the region from the sector. It follows the move towards more open banking in Saudi Arabia as well as the rapid growth of the Saudi fintech ecosystem.

Chris Innes-Hopkins, UK executive director of SBJBC, Saudi fintech
Chris Innes-Hopkins, UK executive director of SBJBC

Chris Innes-Hopkins, UK executive director of SBJBC, commented: “The strength of this delegation is recognition of the excitement that reforms in Saudi Arabia’s financial services sector has generated. We look forward to a productive visit and new partnerships between our two fintech ecosystems. I am grateful for the support of all our partners.”

The UK remains the second largest global fintech hub after the US and the leading European fintech market with $5.1billion investment across 409 deals in 2023. Around 2,500 fintechs operate in the UK with the number of specialisms growing each year including in digital payment technologies, as well as Islamic fintech.

Saudi Arabia was also first in the MENA region in volume of venture capital in 2023, with 33 per cent growth in 2023 – resulting in a total of $1.4billion. The Kingdom is now well on track to become a regional fintech leader and fintech represents between 60 to 70 per cent of early-stage deal flow.

UK and Saudi collaboration

The fintech mission’s delegation includes representatives from the likes of Alba Partners; Digitify; KYC Hub; MishiPay; Paymentology; Smart Pension; Wise; as well as Zeal.

Peter Ashby, Director of Trade & Investment at the British Embassy in Riyadh and Deputy UK Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, also added: “We are always delighted and excited to host SBJBC and are thrilled to welcome the UK Fintech delegation to Saudi Arabia for the second time.

“It is evident that the fintech business in Saudi Arabia is growing rapidly and is fast becoming one of the most exciting sectors. Saudi Arabia aims to become the region’s fintech hub, with the target of 525 Fintech companies by 2030, contributing SAR13.3billion in direct GDP (£2.8billion).

“We look forward to supporting Vision 2030 fintech sector growth, through bringing strong delegations such as this, which includes unicorns, innovative fintechs, and investors.”

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