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LIBF’s Refaay shares thoughts ahead of Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023 – Interview

LIBF’s Refaay shares thoughts ahead of Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023 – Interview
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By: Ingy ElSafy

Mubasher: As Riyadh will be hosting the anticipated event Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023 for two days starting 4 September, during which Mubasher Media will be a media partner, Kareem Refaay who is the Managing Director at the London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) for MENA and the Gulf, shared his thoughts in an interview with Mubasher on how LIBF will be an addition to the event.

Refaay also shared with our readers how he sees the participation in Seamless Saudi Arabia, from both professional and personal perspectives.

He further talked about how the regions LIBF covers benefit the most from the available services, besides sharing his point of view regarding 2024 Seamless events.

What will the London Institute of Banking & Finance add to Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023 compared to 2022?

At the London institute of Banking & Finance we have been always a knowledge partner for seamless events. We participated in the North Africa event in Cairo as well as the Middle East - Dubai in 2022. Also, one year back we participated in Saudi Arabia.

Year-on-year, we see greater development in the dialogue that the region has on the evolving topics in the banking and finance world. This year, we expect further discussion on the development of financial technology, open banking, and future payment solutions.

From our side as LIBF, we will facilitate different discussions between stakeholders and regulators as part of our role in the region as banking and finance education providers and thought leaders.

Which of the regions you focus on has benefited more from The London Institute of Banking & Finance services?

For our MENA operations, I wouldn’t say that there is a region benefited more than the other, considering that the fintech and digital transformation journey varies from one country to another.

What we see happening in the GCC, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the cohesive alignment between regulators and financial institutions is really impressive and a case study not only to the region but to the world. As well, what happens in Egypt as we saw the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) last July introduced the Regulatory Framework and Licensing Requirements for Digital Banks in one of the most populated countries in the region will have a huge impact on the future of financial inclusion required for the country and such development -as well- will be another case study to the region and the world.

We are actively participating in different capacities in the GCC and Egypt delivering different educational programmes at all levels, from executives to fresh graduates, to support the knowledge and competency development required in those countries.

Recently, the CBE and LIBF MENA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to endorse collaboration in order to improve the efficiency of the Egyptian banking and financial services sector. Under the agreement, LIBF MENA will leverage its global expertise and specialised network of experts to upskill and reskill the Egyptian workforce in the financial sector.

How do you describe your participation in the Seamless Saudi Arabia journey, both professionally and personally?

From a professional perspective, we as LIBF always want to support our regional partners by providing the most recent knowledge and education to benchmark to match what is happening in the UK and the world, while it is worth mentioning that we as well learn a lot from our regional participation in seamless on the unique implementation of financial technology in the region, which truly makes us an international local partners.

Personally, I always feel proud of the development of the financial industry in the region as the future technology and implantation of open banking will support the future of financial inclusion that I am personally interested in. Also, the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 is well-progressed in all aspects, especially finance and technology.

Next year, there will be Seamless Middle East in Dubai as well as Seamless North Africa in Cairo. How do you think this widespread presence endorses the fintech industry across the region?

It is essential for the region to keep general and widespread events that allow all stakeholders and future generations informed and up-to-date with the fintech industry development.

In the future, LIBF and myself will always keep our presence in the coming events, as well as keep supporting our community of bankers through our education and knowledge services.

It is worth noting that Seamless Saudi Arabia entered strategic partnerships for 2023 edition with Saudi Payments as well as Fintech Saudi to endorse the anticipated event.

In addition, Global payments solution provider recently announced its participation in Seamless Saudi Arabia as a sponsor and a first-time exhibitor.