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Businesspeople discuss future of banking at regional forum

Event sees attendance of 200 senior executives representing 75 regional and global companies

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Oct 16,2017 - Last updated at Oct 16,2017

Business personalities from 75 regional and global companies attend the ‘Finance MENA Forum: The new shape of banking in the Fintech era’ on Monday (Photo by Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto)

AMMAN — Hundreds of business personalities on Monday gathered to discuss the future of the banking sector at the “Finance MENA Forum: The new shape of banking in the Fintech era”, organised by the Arab Advisers Group and held under the patronage of HRH Princess Sumaya.

The forum brought together C-level executives, directors of the banking industry, new emerging financial technology (Fintech) players and regulators, who shared their thoughts on potential collaboration between the different stakeholders in the financial scene and their views on the future outlook of the industry. 

In a speech delivered on her behalf, Princess Sumaya stated that it was “a great pleasure and a privilege to bring together the people who will shape the future of the finance sector”, noting how the forum was “a key step not only in the transformation of Jordan, but the whole region”.

“We must not forget that the evolution of the finance industry will happen through the transformation of other sectors such as education,” the princess continued, expressing how she “looks forward to the day when industrial leaders worldwide will see our region as an example of transformation and innovation.”

Chairman of the Arab Advisors Group Hakan Kanafani inaugurated the forum noting the “utmost importance of the digital tools for individuals as one of the vital drivers of financial inclusion”, stressing how “the sector needs to come up with solutions that democratise the financial process.”

Furthermore, Kanafani addressed the issue of the gender gap noting that “only 25 per cent of the women in the region perform account operations,” expressing that “this issue requires new and revolutionary solutions to increase the inclusion.”

Maha Bahou, executive director at the Central Bank of Jordan; Salim Sawalha, assistant general manager — head of retail at the Jordan Commercial Bank; and Fady Rafla, head of digital banking at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, were some of the main speakers at the forum.

The forum started out with a panel addressing the current state of the financial industry, where speakers discussed the future of digital banking both at the local and international levels. 

The relationship between Fintech players and the banking sector was then addressed, followed by the banking sector’s future journey on digitisation and the challenges and opportunities which the process will bring. 


The role of the mobile sector, the infrastructure of the digital era in banking, and the implementation of electronic and mobile payments were later discussed, concluding with a talk on the mindset challenge inside and outside financial institutions. 

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