“The Bank of the Future” and “2021: Path to Recovery” to be the focal point of Bank ABC’s 4th MEA Fintech Forum .


Manama, Bahrain: The path to recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the increasingly essential role of Artificial Intelligence and big data-driven digital innovation in banking will be among the main topics at the upcoming fourth edition of the MEA Fintech Forum, held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain and hosted by Bank ABC.

Themed ‘Banking Beyond Digital’, the 2-day event will be streamed live on a state-of-the-art virtual event platform on November 24 and 25, 2020.

With more than 2,000 participants including regulators, financial services and fintech leaders expected to attend; the event will explore financial services beyond digital and ways to navigate the current economic crisis, possible paths to recovery, and uncover new and exciting opportunities to drive positive change in the financial services sector.

One of the focal topics of the conference will be the emergence of the “bank of the future” in light of the pandemic which has prompted a seismic shift in the global economy, as customers and businesses demonstrate a heightened level of engagement with FinTech. Key discussion themes in this area will include the Digital-Powered Path to Recovery in 2021, Redefining Banking using Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Sustainability and inclusion.

Sael Al Waary, Deputy Group CEO of Bank ABC, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major changes to the way we live and work and forced us to form new habits to adapt to the “new- normal.” The pandemic has accelerated digitization at a rate which we could never have predicted. We are at a critical junction for the future of Banks and Financial Services and how we choose to respond to these challenges will play a key role in shaping the future not only of the finance industry, but of the entire ecosystem. We must embrace the opportunities that have been created to adapt and innovate in these difficult times as we look beyond 2020 to economic recovery and the future of Banking Beyond Digital.

We are excited to host the 4th MEA Fintech Forum and bring together industry leaders to discuss these pressing topics and to feature key insights and predictions from renowned expert speakers.”

Among some of the most prominent speakers lined up for the event are:

  • HE Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor, Central Bank of Bahrain
  • Khaled Kawan, Group CEO, Bank ABC
  • Sael Al Waary, Deputy Group CEO, Bank ABC
  • Gillian Tett, Chairman of the US Editorial Board and America Editor-at-Large, Financial Times
  • Stephen Sackur, Journalist & presenter of BBC HardTalk
  • Inma Martinez, Digital pioneer and AI scientist
  • Martin Tricaud, MENA CEO, HSBC
  • Atiq Ur Rehman, CEO, Middle East & Africa, Citi Bank
  • Hari Moorthy, Global Head of Transaction Banking, Goldman Sachs
  • Simon Hayward, Author, The Agile Leader
  • Edwin Van der Ouderaa, Senior Managing Director, Accenture
  • Ziad Daoud, Emerging Markets Economist, Bloomberg
  • Jamal Fakhro, Managing Partner, KPMG
  • Giulio Romanelli, Partner, McKinsey

A separate CEO’s panel moderated by Dr. Gillian Tett on Day-1 of the MEA Fintech Forum will see Bank ABC Group CEO, Dr. Khaled Kawan, Citi Bank Middle East & Africa CEO, Atiq Ur Rehman, and HSBC MENA CEO, Martin Tricaud, discuss how incumbent banks are responding to the demand for digital banking, the future of banking, how banks are responding to the double threat of COVID-19, and the acceleration of digital banking, among many other critical topics.

The MEA Fintech Forum underlines Bank ABC’s commitment and Bahrain’s vision to becoming a leading Fintech hub. Already, Bahrain has been identified by Startup Genome as the only “fintech ecosystem” to watch in the entire Middle East and North Africa region. Recently, the Central Bank of Bahrain in cooperation with a consortium of Banks, including Bank ABC and ila Bank, and the Economic Development Board launched FinHub 973, a digital fintech lab designed to connect financial institutions in the region with fintech startups across the world and unlock innovation opportunities in the region.

More information regarding the 4th MEA Fintech Forum’s agenda and speakers will be revealed over the coming weeks.

The MEA Fintech Forum underlines Bank ABC’s commitment to Bahrain and the region and supports Bahrain’s vision to become a leading FinTech hub. More regional banks, financial institutions, big tech and leading consultancy’s are expected to take part in the Forum this year. Bank ABC Group including the digital, mobile-only bank, ila and digital payments provider AFS, are engaged in the development of new FinTech-led financial services and global ecosystems.

Bank ABC is a leading player in the MENA region’s banking industry and provides global innovative Wholesale Banking coverage and products that include Corporate and Financial Institutions coverage, Transaction Banking (Trade Finance and Cash Management), Project and Structured finance, Syndications, Treasury and Financial Markets products and Islamic Banking. It also provides retail banking services through its network of retail banks in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria and in Bahrain through the digital mobile-only bank ila.