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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has set a target to achieve 525 active financial technology entities by 2030, marking a significant milestone in the strategic development plan for the financial sector, according to a top official. 

Speaking at the Jazan Investment Forum, Faisal Al-Khathlan, the director general of project management for the Financial Sector Development Program, emphasized the pivotal role of fintech in the broader vision for the sector. 

In a panel discussion on enhancing the investment and development environment in the Jazan region, he highlighted that “Financial technology is one of the pillars of the strategic plan for the development of the financial sector.” 

Al-Khathlan outlined various services and programs offered by Saudi fintech, encompassing consulting services, workshops, and initiatives aimed at accelerating growth in the sector.  

The target of 525 active fintech entities reflects Saudi Arabia’s commitment to driving innovation and technological advancement in the financial landscape.  

“Perhaps one of the current strategic objectives in the financial sector development program is to empower financial institutions to support the private sector and expand potential supply channels, especially in the field of financial technology,” he added.  

Discussing the role of Small and Medium Enterprises, Al-Khathlan emphasized the significance of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises and the SME Bank.  

“The percentage of SMEs from the total loans granted is now 8.5 percent, and we aspire to reach 11 percent by the year 2025,” he added.  

Khalid Al-Dhaher, deputy governor of the Saudi Central Bank for supervision and technology, emphasized significant investments in building the infrastructure for financial transactions.  

Saad Al-Shahrani, deputy minister for economic affairs and investment studies, underscored the Kingdom’s attractiveness to investors, with diverse wealth in oil and non-oil resources.  

Highlighting the potential, he said: “The Jazan region has promising sectors that should operate effectively. It is ready, but it requires the necessary resources.”
Ali Arishi, professor of regional planning at Jazan University, emphasized the need for a comprehensive strategy with administrative capabilities, financial resources, and technical competence to unleash the full potential of the Jazan region.  

In a nod to global collaboration in the field of financial technology, Al-Khathlan revealed: “In terms of capacity building in the field of financial technology, one of the initiatives resulting from the financial technology strategy is the development of Arabic-language content in this field.”  

This initiative, developed in collaboration with Hong Kong University, marks the first Arabic-language content in financial technology, according to Al-Khathlan.  

The Jazan Investment Forum aims to showcase the investment climate in the region, promote investment opportunities, and facilitate discussions on strengths and challenges in the business environment.  

The initiative also seeks to generate implementable recommendations for overcoming obstacles and fostering economic growth in Jazan. 

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