|26 February, 2020

Saudi central bank governor opens fintech gathering in Riyadh

Near field technology and smartphones accounted for almost 57% of retail transactions in Saudi Arabia last year

Saudi Arabia's central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey speaks to reporters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 4, 2017.

Saudi Arabia's central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey speaks to reporters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 4, 2017.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

LONDON: Saudi Arabia aspires to become a pioneering hub for the financial technology (fintech) sector, central bank governor Ahmed Alkholifey told the MEFTECH conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The two-day conference and exhibition brings together leading industry experts in digital payments, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is devising its strategic plan in the financial and development sector with the goal of becoming a pioneering hub for innovation in the financial technology sector,” Alkholifey said. “The Kingdom spares no effort in working to provide a suitable environment that motivates success, supported by top local and international partners. We at the Monetary Authority seek to promote digitization of financial services and advance digital transformation in the sector to meet the demands and goals of the financial sector development program, which is one of the programs of Saudi Vision 2030.”

E-payment transactions grew sharply last year with non-cash transactions rising to 36.2 percent, exceeding the general goal of the Saudi Vision 2030 which is 28 percent.

The overall value of transactions reached an unprecedented record level last year, exceeding SR287 billion — an increase of 24 percent on the previous year.

The number of transactions carried out via near-field communication technology also more than quadrupled to 918.5 million.

In fact near field technology and smartphones accounted for almost 57 percent of retail transactions.

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