CATALYSING FINANCIAL TRANSFORMATION

CATALYSING FINANCIAL TRANSFORMATION
Amnah Ajmal from Mastercard at Fintech Surge

Dubai – United Arab Emirates – 17 October 2023: Fintech Surge 2023, the global gathering for the entire fintech ecosystem, continued this week at the iconic Dubai Harbour. Taking place until tomorrow (18 October), the event is uniting regional and global players from across the fintech industry – from banks and financial institutions to regulators, start-ups, governments and investors.

With an action-packed agenda bringing together the world’s most influential minds, its Digital Banking and Finance summit welcomed leaders from Mastercard, KPMG, Fintx, Emirates NBD, Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship, and more to the stage.

On day two of Fintech Surge, Amnah Ajmal, Mastercard's EVP for Market Development, EMMEA, hosted a session on the future of fintech, urging a mind-set shift – constant unlearning and relearning – as fintech's linchpin for the future. She said: "From ancient marketplaces to the digital era, the evolution of commerce reflects humanity's pursuit of convenience… The 'buy now, pay later' trend, born from the Great Depression, takes centre stage in modern finance. Personalisation, a historical constant, adapts with technology, drawing parallels from ancient monograms to Starbucks. AI's delayed adoption, propelled by computing advancements, shifts focus to unsupervised learning for cross-industry personalisation. Examples span predicting biological age to precision farming.”

Meanwhile, during a pacesetter talk ‘Catalysing financial transformation: Building a multifaceted fintech landscape for the future’, Ahmed Al Awadi, CEO of Fintx, said: “Corporations, perceived as harbouring untapped goldmines, grapple with daily operations and financial targets. Their strength lies in clear models, relationships, and a vast customer base. Transforming challenges into innovation requires altering the corporate DNA. Startups, nimble and innovative, must align with corporate culture and language. Collaboration models, from buying to joint ventures, signify the needed synergy. This collective journey, merging corporate stability with startup dynamism, unveils unprecedented growth and success."

During day three, Embedded Finance was the key daily theme, exploring the integration of fintech solutions into financial institution's websites, apps, and other business processes. Madiha Sattar, Head of Strategy and Transformation at Careem, Kartik Taneja, Executive Vice President, Head of Payments & Consumer Lending at Mashreq, and Muhammad Nana, Vice President – Fintech, Enabler & PSP Partnerships EEMEA at Mastercard, discussed the power of super apps, the opportunities they bring and why the Middle East region is leading the way. During the session, ‘Payments Transformation in a Hyper-Growth MENA Market: Creating New Layers of Convenient, Personalised and Intuitive Customer Experiences and Ensuring Loyalty’,

Muhammad Nana said: “There are so many more players in the financial ecosystem right now and we’ve now become a multi-segmented business that focuses on telcos, fintechs, retailers, governments, and we’re trying to work with them on their financial journey and seeing what they can embed within their world through APIs. We’ve become an API-first world, and if you look at where we're going with this, imagine a world today, you have ChatGPT and you’re able to do a lot of things. With Mastercard, we’ve seen all this data come through our network and we’ll be able to create a transaction GPT database, giving innovation and power to create personalised experiences. A power for lending, where most importantly today, lending, especially in emerging markets, is such a big issue because so many people don't have access. Through transaction GPT, we're able to create these algorithms using AI. I'm just imagining a world of possibilities here.”

Fintech Surge has also helped to highlight fintech’s transformative potential for small business financing and uncover how to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape, where limited access to funding and digital financial literacy remain significant challenges. Under the theme of global strategy and governance, prominent speakers from KMPG – UAE, Paymob, Monz, Mastercard and Emirates NBD joined a mastermind talk on ‘Partnership Between Fintech and Banks to Fuel the Growth of Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

On this topic, Rohit Garg, Group Head of Business Banking at Emirates NBD, said, “Funding remains a key challenge for SMEs, be it in their inception, growth or expansion phase. We see an urgent need to enhance access to banking for start-ups – this has to go beyond opening a banking account to becoming business partners that anticipate and support business challenges at every step. While digitisation can unlock access, businesses will reap the most benefit from an ecosystem of benefits that also includes high-level advisory.”

With more than 100 exhibitors, 160 speakers and 1,000 investors expected to attend, Fintech Surge is the premier hub for global fintech ecosystem, bringing together Fintech entrepreneurs, buyers, innovators, investors, and regulators.

As an ideal platform to foster collaboration, Mozn, a regional AI powerhouse and leader in enterprise AI technologies, inked a landmark partnership with Astra Tech, a pioneering, UAE-based tech company at Fintech Surge. This aims to strengthen their joint ability to tackle unique compliance challenges in local and global markets, enhancing the overall compliance landscape, promoting increased safety and transparency in financial operations.

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