Finance & Capital Market

Saudi fintech investments top $340m in 12 months

Saudi Arabia’s financial technology sector grew at an accelerating pace over the past 12 months, as the number of fintech companies increased by 37% and investments topped SR1.3  billion ($347 million), said Fintech Saudi  in a new report.

“Despite the exceptional circumstances that the world witnessed during the year 2020, we see an ongoing reliance on digital solutions caused by the coronavirus pandemic crisis, even after the gradual overcoming of this crisis,” Nujoud Al-Malik, Director-General of the Saudi Fintech Initiative, was quoted as saying in a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report.

The financial technology sector in the Kingdom during the year 2020/2021 witnessed a remarkable growth and development, she said, adding that the clarity in legislation and regulations has led to attracting more investments to the financial technology sector, which leads the growth of this sector.

An initiative launched by the Saudi Central Bank in partnership with the Capital Market Authority in 2018, provides an overview of the development of the financial technology sector, as last year witnessed the emergence of new financial technology companies in various fields, including payments, money markets, insurance, and business solutions for small and medium enterprises, Fintech Saudi Arabia's annual report 2020/2021 said.

This is in addition to several developments in regulations and infrastructure, including the issuance of new regulations for financial technology activities, the launch of the “rapid” instant payments system, and the approval of the Saudi Council of Ministers to license two local digital banks, according to the report..

Al-Malik pointed out that the "Saudi Fintech" initiative continues to support the development of the financial technology sector in the Kingdom through an array of programs and activities, including the Fintech accelerator, the Fintech job fair, the Future Generations competition, as well as the National Fintech Survey, the first of its kind in the region aiming to measure the extent to which individuals and companies adopt financial technology solutions.

The report expected that the year 2021/2022 will be significant for the financial technology sector and that the continued injection of investments by venture capital investors, the adoption of new legislation, and the launch of national initiatives related to financial technology, will contribute to the development of a new generation of financial technology solutions in the Kingdom.

The report includes sections covering several aspects in the financial technology sector, namely an overview of financial technology companies in Saudi Arabia, the talents and qualifications required in the Saudi financial technology market, as well as open banking in the Kingdom, and an analytical view of investments in the financial technology sector.