Doha, May 31 (QNA) – The second regional FinTech conference kicked off Wednesday in Doha to discuss the latest trends of financial technology in the financial sector, and how regulatory agencies can effectively benefit from it in building and developing new business models and practices that serve the renewable requirements of market needs and keep abreast of global developments with the aim of providing a fertile and attractive environment for investment.

Bringing together speakers from the State of Qatar and the Middle East in the field of banking, financial services and information technology, and representatives of international institutions and organizations, the conference highlighted the best practices of countries that have made great progress in using this technology, in addition to the experience of the State of Qatar in this field.

Chairman of Qatar Association of Certified Public Accountants (QCPA) Dr. Hashim Al Sayed said in a speech that financial technology or (FinTech) is one of the secretions of the fourth industrial revolution that emerged as a result of the tremendous technical development that brought digitization in all fields of life.

He added that the financial and banking sectors comes at the forefront of the fields capitalizing on technology, with customers increasingly relying on electronic applications and smart solutions in carrying out their banking and financial transactions, which changed the structure of financial services.

Al Sayed stressed that financial technology has made a huge revolution by providing innovative and effective financial services that can be accessed by customers and companies in several fields.

These services include a broad package such as transfer, payment, lending, investment, risk management, data analysis and storage, wealth management, digital savings, cloud services and others, he added.

He noted that the State of Qatar attaches great importance to the digital services sector to strengthen its position regionally and globally in the field of financial digitization.

Al Sayed highlighted that Qatar launched a strategy for financial technology, as part of its steps towards diversifying its knowledge-based economy. This strategy focuses on development, diversification and raising the competitiveness of the financial technology and financial services sector in the State of Qatar through leadership in infrastructure while providing solutions that positively affect the customer experience, he said. 

For his part, Director of Corporate Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) Salem bin Salim Al Mannai said in a similar speech that the conference served as an important occasion for the exchange of ideas and visions on the best processes to adopt fintech in the financial sector and ways to make use of it in financial and economic institutions.

Al Mannai added that the State of Qatar pays great attention to digitalizing services in all sectors, which made Qatar rank first globally according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, which indicated that digital government services have become an integral part of the daily lives of the country’s residents.

This has been so since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He stated that MOCI took the initiative of consolidating Qatar’s digital transformation and upgrading governmental services, providing a package of digital and smart services to facilitate and shorten procedures for granting approvals and licenses for establishing businesses, rendering Qatar an attractive destination for investment regionally and globally.

The State of Qatar has made remarkable progress in developing infrastructure and communication networks, as Qatar ranked first among the highest ranking countries globally when it comes to deploying fixed fiber networks, as well as occupying a leading position in the implementation of mobile and fifth generation networks.

The country also ranked second out of 175 countries in mobile phone networks Internet speed. Additionally, Qatar tops global rankings in digital quality of life, Internet accessibility among the population, and cybersecurity.

Director of Corporate Affairs at MOCI said that efforts are ongoing to adopt the best international technological standards and practices in order to take advantage of advanced technologies in the field of fintech. He noted that today’s meeting is an important opportunity to highlight the State of Qatar’s approach to rapidly adapt to global developments and adopt advanced technological solutions based on artificial (AI) intelligence and cloud computing.

For his part, CEO of Alijarah Holding Hamad Hassan Al Jamali said in a speech that the short previous period witnessed a remarkable shift in interest and support for technology locally and regionally, however, he drew attention to the importance of accelerating the adoption of more financial technologies in order to catch up with global financial developments, especially given the widespread of smart phones, the changes imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, advancements in legislation, in addition to technological developments in AI and technologies such as Blockchain, setting the sector’s growth rate at 20 percent annually until 2030, something that requires a swift development in keeping pace with this growth.

Al Jamali stressed that the development experienced by the fintech sector is an essential part of digitizing the economy, a primary goal of developed and emerging economies due to its vitality in saving time and effort for both customers and companies, leading to the increased efficiency of financial institutions and reducing service costs.

He also highlighted fintech’s significant role in developing payment methods and raising their efficiency, such as creating digital wallets, facilitating the circulation of money more easily, making the insurance sector increasingly dependence on digital services, developing banking transaction methods, and bringing forth new financing methods such as crowd funding and small business loans.

He stressed the role of financial technology in narrowing income inequality gaps and reducing poverty by facilitating access to bank accounts and credit, in addition to enhancing individual entrepreneurial opportunities in development, given the lack of need for large capital in developing products and services.

For his part, head of Scientific Accounting Association at QU Dr. Ghassan Mardini said that AI has the potential to significantly improving accessibility, efficiency, and convenience in the financial sector, saying that a fully automated process for data generation can be used to identify and classify external (financial) and internal (management reports) reports from different sources.

In contrast, Mardini said that AI could present operational risks to financial institutions. Thus, for the sake of mitigating AI challenges and maintaining financial stability, Mardini stressed that financial institutions and regulators need to develop an appropriate governance framework for AI, ensuring that AI algorithms are transparent, fair, and subject to appropriate oversight. (QNA)


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