MANAMA: The third Middle East and Africa FinTech Forum, the region’s premier fintech conference, will be held during February 20-21 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bahrain, it was announced yesterday.
Started in 2017, the forum is an initiative of Bank ABC and Arab Financial Services (AFS) and is organised annually under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The forum brings together internationally renowned thought leaders, practitioners and innovators from the fintech and artificial intelligence (AI) arenas to discuss a wide range of issues including the future of banking, potential impact of AI and how it will transform the future, open banking, crowdsourcing and financial inclusion.
Bank ABC Group deputy chief executive and AFS chairman Sael Al Waary said: “Banking is beyond disruption. Huge advances in digital capability, AI, and greater financial inclusion are changing the way we do banking. The forum will build upon the success of the past two years and focus on the key opportunities and challenges of fintech and innovations.”
He added, “The forum will examine technology’s impact on both banks and humans, as well as the evolution of the customer experience. We are witnessing massive growth in new AI-based solutions on our daily lives and a deeper understanding of these trends is critical to shape the future of the financial industry.”
According to Mr Al Waary, the hosting of the forum reflects “our commitment to Bahrain and the region as a whole, as this event has become the most prominent fintech conference in Mena and supports Bahrain’s vision to become a leading fintech hub.”
More regional banks and financial institutions are expected to take part in the forum next year.
The forum also features the region’s widest congregation of business leaders, fintech entrepreneurs, policymakers and regulators, representatives of the investor community and some of the financial industry’s largest organisations who discuss and promote the next generation of fintech innovations in payments, AI, open banking, blockchain technology and more in a highly engaging format.
The last edition brought together leading and well regarded global experts and industry leaders in a highly engaging format of talks and discussions on the most pressing issues in the fast evolving fintech landscape.
More than 450 delegates attended the second edition this year, including representatives from the central banks of Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain and 40 banks and financial institutions from the Mena region.
The 2019 forum is expected to be an even bigger event with wide representation from all industries across the region.