MANAMA: A panel of influential speakers has been announced for the 2nd Middle East & Africa FinTech Forum to be held in Bahrain next month.
Bank ABC and Arab Financial Services (AFS) are the main sponsors of the conference, which will host 300 invited senior executives from the region’s financial services industry on March 8 at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.
The theme of the forum this year is Beyond Disruption, and it will look to address some of the most pressing challenges in the fast-evolving fintech landscape.
“The conference tackles the most pressing and urgent themes in fintech that are changing the banking and finance industry through advanced data analysis, the use of artificial intelligence and crypto-currency,” said AFS chairman and Bank ABC deputy group chief executive Sael Al Waary.
“It is why we have given it the theme: Beyond Disruption. We are confident this forum will act as a catalyst for greater innovation in the Middle East’s financial industry going forward.”
Held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the event is to be opened by Governor Rasheed Al Maraj, with keynote speaker announced as Anthony Thomson, who is the founder and former chairman of UK’s first fully-digital bank Atom.
Being the driving force behind such innovation in financial solutions, Mr Thomson is in a unique position to comment on disruptive FinTech affecting today’s banking industry.
Joining him on stage will be Michael Jordaan, founder of South Africa’s first digital-only bank, Bank Zero, and former chief executive of First National Bank, South Africa.
The conference aims to explore how innovation and technology are changing the way banking and finance operates on a worldwide scale.
Greg Cross, co-creator of Soul Machines, will demonstrate the next generation of Artificial Intelligence and how it is evolving to Emotional Intelligence.
Addressing the biggest challenges in the near future, Eileen Burbidge, the UK Treasury’s Special Envoy for FinTech and Tech Ambassador for the Mayor of London’s office, will be joined by Alastair Lukies, UK Ambassador for the FinTech and Chairman of Innovate Finance.
Jim Marous, American financial author and industry strategist, as well as former advisor to the White House, will host an interactive Q&A on Crypto Currencies – Hype Versus Reality, focusing on the theme of going Beyond Borders with this new form of financial transaction.
Focusing on the significance of financial inclusion to under privileged and remote areas of the world, there will be an engaging panel discussion led by Mr Jordaan on how FinTech presents a transformative opportunity for the unbanked two billion people around the world.
The conference will be moderated by Joe DiVanna, chief executive of Maris Strategies, the innovation banking think-tank, and a frequent commentator on CNBC (Europe, Africa, Middle East), Citi7-TV, Dubai One, and Summit-TV on banking, economics, human capital management, emerging markets and Islamic finance.
AFS chief executive B Chandrasekhar said: “This forum brings many of our esteemed speakers to the MEA region for the first time, allowing the delegates the unique opportunity to benefit from their ground-breaking work in the financial technology sphere.
“We are dedicated to help our clients optimise the true potential of fintech, and therefore see this conference being an annual event where industry leaders collaborate and share best practices for the benefit of the whole sector.”