|24 November, 2019

Inauguration of first Saudi and UAE banking conference to discuss challenges and opportunities within financial sector

Conference is within the initiatives of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council

Inauguration of first Saudi and UAE banking conference to discuss challenges and opportunities within financial sector

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: On Sunday, 24th of November 2019, the first Joint Conference of Banking Officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took place in Riyadh. The conference was organised by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), in cooperation with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE).

Organised by supervisory bodies, the annual conference, is tasked with identifying challenges and opportunities in the banking sector. The conference is one of the initiatives stemming from the Finance and Investment Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council. The main objective of the Council is to advance the interests of the two countries, as well as create new opportunities and promote mutual well-being.  The conference was inaugurated in the presence of H.E. Mubarak bin Rashid Al-Mansouri, Governor of CBUAE and H.E. Dr. Ahmad Bin Abdul Karim Al-Kholifey, Governor of SAMA, as well as several experts and interested parties from both countries.

The conference highlighted the challenges and opportunities within the banking sector, as well as the implementation of joint strategic projects to encourage regional integration and cooperation. The conference serves as the ideal platform for banks officials from both countries to discuss challenges and opportunities in areas that have become increasingly important to the banking community.  These include areas such as cybersecurity, financial technology, as well as the support and financing of SMEs and microenterprises.

His Excellency Mubarak Rashid Al-Mansouri, Governor of CBUAE, said in the opening speech of the conference: “The deep link between the UAE and Saudi Arabia will promote the development of joint strategic initiatives between the two countries, aimed at continued cooperation and integration across many areas including finance, investment and banking.”

“This conference is designed to consolidate cooperation between banks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, while highlighting the challenges and opportunities in fields such as cybersecurity, financial technology, and financing of SMEs and micro-enterprises. Both countries must take advantage of financial and investment opportunities as they transition their economies and prepare for a ‘post-oil era’. The two countries share long-term visions to create a brighter future according to UAE Vision 2021 and Saudi Vision 2030.” He added

Commenting on the trade exchange, His Excellency Mubarak Rashid Al-Mansouri, Governor of CBUAE, said: “As of September 2019, over 107 billion dirhams in trade has happened between the two countries. These trade ties are a testament to the to the strengthening partnership between Saudi and UAE banks. "

“Since the industrial revolution and the introduction of modern digital technologies, many entities, including Central Banks, are monitoring developments in blockchain, a key enabler in financial inclusion," continued Al-Mansouri.

“As a testament to our joint vision and integration, CBUAE and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency have used blockchain technology in inter-bank payments to pave the way for the future of our countries.”

We have announced a joint project surrounding initial issuance a digital currency to be used between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The project aims to understand and study the dimensions of modern technologies and their feasibility closely through the actual application. We want to know the extent of their impact on improving and reducing the costs of international transfers and assessment of technical risks. We must understand how to deal with them and must explore alternative solutions to existing systems.  We must understand our requirements for issuing a common currency between the two countries. "

His Excellency stressed the importance of financial awareness and inclusiveness; CBUAE is undertaking several initiatives to educate consumers on banking services and financial products, as well as enhancing their understanding of the benefits and risks of these services.

Al Mansouri added: “We plan to establish a financial technology office in the near future with the objective of continued financial innovation in the UAE banking sector. These projects will play an important role in the future development of areas such as employment, economic diversification and upgrading to a knowledge-based economy.

H.E. Dr. Ahmad Bin Abdul Karim Al-Kholifey, Governor of SAMA, said: “The banking sector in the Kingdom is characterized by a great deal of financial solvency, operational efficiency and high liquidity. Additionally, the sector is subject to close supervision and effective control by the SAMA, highlighting that one of the most important tasks of the banking sector is to provide credit facilities to the private and public sector.”

“Financial safety indicators are excellent compared to Basel requirements and international standards in various areas, including capital adequacy ratio, bad or doubtful loans, and high liquidity levels,” continued Al-Kholifey.

Al-Kholifey continued: “The Kingdom is the fourth largest trading partner of the UAE in the world and the first in the Gulf and Arab region. The remittances issued to the UAE during the first six months of 2019 amounted to approximately 71 billion riyals while the value of remittances received during the same period amounted to 20 billion Riyals.”

Dr. Al-Khulaifi added: “The objectives of this conference are to identify and exchange the experiences of banks operating in the two countries. These span across areas such as cybersecurity, financial education, innovative financial services and ways to support small and medium enterprises. The officials of the Monetary Agency and CBUAE always seek to promote constructive cooperation between banks in both countries to achieve the desired goals.”

The Saudi-UAE Coordination Council was established between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in May 2016, under the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The President of the UAE, in the interest of consolidating positive relations between the two countries and their desire to intensify bilateral cooperation through continuous consultation and coordination in the fields of economy, human development and political, security and military integration. The vision of the Council is to create an exceptional model of integration and cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at the regional and Arab levels through the implementation of joint strategic projects for the happiness and prosperity of the peoples of both countries.

-Ends-

© Press Release 2019

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