A prestigious group of entrepreneurs, startups, and corporate firms were honoured during an awards ceremony, which was among the highlights of the two-day ‘Arab Fintech Forum’, which was held recently in Doha.
This second edition of the forum provided a deep dive into the future of financial technology (fintech) in the region. The final day of the event not only offered a comprehensive overview of fintech’s flourishing landscape in the Middle East but featured workshops, the ‘Pitch Pit’, and the Arab Fintech Forum Awards Ceremony.
The awards ceremony celebrated the best in fintech innovation and honoured the following: Mastercard, which was awarded ‘Best Innovation in Payments’; Hyperpay for the ‘BTB Fintech Solutions Provider of the Year’ award; Karty – ‘Upcoming Wallet of the Year’; Thuraya Nasser al-Mulla – ‘Female Fintech Entrepreneur of the Year’; Spendwisor – ‘Best Use of Fintech for Shopping Experience’; and Dr Ahmet Faruk Aysan – ‘Fintech Researcher of the Year’.
The second day’s agenda also featured expert-led workshops, introducing attendees to Artificial Intelligence’s expanding role in fintech, the burgeoning significance of digital currencies, and the craft of refining user experience on digital financial platforms.
Another highlight of the forum’s conclusion was the eagerly anticipated Pitch Pit segment. Making its debut in Qatar, this initiative offered a platform for fintech startups Mume, Peqal, Spendwisor, Bawales, and S-Treasury to showcase their pioneering concepts to an illustrious panel of investors, including Sheikh Mansoor bin Khalifa al-Thani (MBK Holding), Sara Daniel (Doha Tech Angels), Misfer al-Hajri (Ajyal), Zainab al-Sharif (Plus VC), and Marcel Dridje (eban).
Malik Shishtawi, president of the Arab Fintech Forum, said: “The passion and commitment exhibited over these two days underscore the region’s readiness and ambition in the fintech realm. Together, we are forging a future rich in innovation.”
The 2nd Arab Fintech Forum gathered industry pioneers, emergent startups, and visionary investors during the event, enriching the narrative of the Middle East’s fintech trajectory.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the forum, Mohamed Abdulsalam al-Emadi, senior manager of Investments at Qatar Development Bank (QDB), said Qatar is considered a “blue ocean” and less saturated than other regional markets, and “a great launching pad” for businesses penetrating the rest of the Mena region.
Al-Emadi noted that by 2030, it’s anticipated that the global fintech sector will generate annual revenues of nearly “$1.5tn,” which accounts for nearly “25%” of all global banking valuations.
In terms of financial innovation, al-Emadi said fintech has played “a significant instructive role” in transforming market segments, particularly in payments and transaction banking.
“Fintech has attracted more than $500bn in funding worldwide over the past decades, even though there was a decline in the last year due to varying factors, including behavioural conflict, supply chain issues, rising inflation, decreasing valuation, and the recovery from the global pandemic. Data indicates that fintech is revolutionising the access to financial resources, breaking down barriers and empowering underserved communities,” he stressed.
According to al-Emadi, the growing market demand for a convenient and secure financial transaction system and a more attractive economic and financial ecosystem is anticipated to grow faster in the Mena region than the majority of other financial ecosystems in the region.
The inaugural day of the forum also showcased 20 local, regional, and international speakers who delivered five sessions on topics like the evolution of digital banking, cybersecurity challenges, and the transformative potential of blockchain technology.
The forum’s attendees engaged in networking sessions in the exhibition area, which featured 10 local and international companies showcasing their services and expertise.
Shishtawi added: “With its curtain fall, the Arab Fintech Forum solidifies its position as a must-attend in the Middle East's fintech calendar, promising even greater things in its next edition.”
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