Saudi Arabia Approves Financial Technology Strategy

Saudi Arabia continues its digital transformation in the financial sector. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia continues its digital transformation in the financial sector. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia Approves Financial Technology Strategy

Saudi Arabia continues its digital transformation in the financial sector. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia continues its digital transformation in the financial sector. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Saudi Cabinet approved on Tuesday the Kingdom’s financial technology strategy, a move that experts say would enable and activate modern means in the financial sector and attract local and foreign companies to work in an equipped infrastructure in the Kingdom.

Specialists explained that the strategy will organize the sector and put it on the right track for active participation in financial technology.

They also considered the strategy a great leap to prepare the infrastructure in the Kingdom to be ready to receive foreign investments working in this field and to reach the country's goals during the next stage.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha said that with the support of the Kingdom's government, the new strategy will be a fundamental pillar to accelerate the growth of the digital economy in the country.

Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) Governor Fahad Almubarak emphasized that the financial sector is going through rapid changes, especially in the FinTech industry, which necessitates swift and collaborative action to keep pace with such changes, noting that the implementation of this strategy requires cooperation and joint efforts from all relevant stakeholders.

Capital Market Authority (CMA) Chairman Mohammed Elkuwaiz clarified that the strategy supports all financial technology activities through transformation engines combined with initiatives that support service providers and develop the sector’s infrastructure.

Mohammed Al Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital, highlighted the specialized role played by government agencies, especially the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Capital Market Authority and the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, in developing the financial technology sector.

Al Suwayed told Asharq Al-Awsat that government agencies are ensuring that FinTech activity in the Kingdom is based on international standards and a safe institutional ecosystem.

Saudi Arabia's adoption of an independent strategy in financial technology explicitly indicates that the Kingdom is organizing this sector and placing it on the path of active participation in the financial sector in its broadest sense, he added.

The new strategy is in line with the supreme directive for Saudi Arabia to be among the leading countries in the field of FinTech, with Riyadh becoming a global tech hub.

It is included as a new pillar within the Saudi Vision 2030's Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), which is aimed at developing the national economy, diversifying sources of income and enabling financial institutions to support private sector growth by giving new companies the opportunity to provide financial services.



Egypt's Central Bank Leaves Key Interest Rates Unchanged

A general view of Dahab Island or Gold Island (Gezirit el-Dahab) in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, July 2, 2024. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A general view of Dahab Island or Gold Island (Gezirit el-Dahab) in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, July 2, 2024. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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Egypt's Central Bank Leaves Key Interest Rates Unchanged

A general view of Dahab Island or Gold Island (Gezirit el-Dahab) in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, July 2, 2024. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A general view of Dahab Island or Gold Island (Gezirit el-Dahab) in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, July 2, 2024. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt's central bank left its overnight interest rates unchanged on Thursday, as expected, saying economic growth remained slow but that inflation has been decreasing.
The bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left the deposit rate at 27.25% and the lending rate at 28.25%.
All but one of 18 analysts in a Reuters poll had expected rates to remain unchanged, with the sole analyst forecasting a cut of 100 basis points (bps).
The decision keeps the overnight deposit rate below that of headline inflation, which was 27.5% in June. Real interest rates have been negative since January 2022. Inflation declined in June for a fourth straight month after soaring to a record 38% in September.
The MPC expects inflation to come down sharply in the first half of 2025.
"The gradual unwinding of food inflation along with the improvement of inflation expectations suggest that inflation is on a sustained downward trajectory," the MPC said.
Gross domestic product inched down to an annualized 2.2% in the first quarter from 2.3% in the final quarter of 2023, the MPC added.
"Leading indicators for Q2 2024 suggest that economic activity remains subdued. Consequently, real GDP growth is expected to slow down in FY 2023/24 compared to the previous fiscal year, before recovering in FY 2024/25," it said.
Egypt reported GDP of 3.8% in 2022/23.
The central bank raised interest rates by 600 bps on March 6 as part of an agreement with the IMF, bringing total increases since the beginning of the year to 800 bps. Egypt also sharply devalued its currency against the dollar under its IMF accord.