British Fintech Representatives Embark on a Landmark Visit to Saudi Arabia Amid Sector Growth

British Fintech Representatives Embark on a Landmark Visit to Saudi Arabia Amid Sector Growth

A group of 30 top-tier fintech companies and investors from the United Kingdom is set to embark on a significant journey to Saudi Arabia. This move is a strategic effort to tap into the emerging opportunities within the Kingdom’s rapidly evolving financial sector. Organized by the Saudi British Joint Business Council, this delegation will participate in a comprehensive three-day program in Riyadh from January 29 to January 31.

This venture aligns with Saudi Arabia’s leading role in drawing investment. The Kingdom has notably topped the Middle East and North Africa region in venture capital growth in 2023, witnessing a 33% increase, reaching an unprecedented $1.4 billion. Such advancements position Saudi Arabia on a path to becoming a regional fintech powerhouse, with the sector accounting for 60-70% of early-stage deal flow.

Building Bridges Between Fintech Ecosystems

Chris Innes-Hopkins, the UK’s executive director of the Saudi British Joint Business Council, expressed enthusiasm about this second UK fintech mission to Saudi Arabia. He highlighted the immense potential sparked by reforms in Saudi Arabia’s financial services sector. The mission aims not only to explore these emerging opportunities but also to foster new partnerships between the UK and Saudi fintech ecosystems.

The delegation, which includes representatives from Clifford Chance LLP, Golden Record Ventures, and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, is co-sponsored by Saudi Awwal Bank and Geidea. It also enjoys the support of the UK’s Department for Business & Trade, the Saudi Ministry of Communications and IT, and Fintech Saudi.

One of the highlights of the visit will be the UK/Saudi Fintech Venture Day at the Garage Innovation District on January 30. This event promises to be a platform for dynamic interactions, featuring panel sessions and pitches from leading UK and Saudi startups.

The UK’s Fintech Prowess and Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Goals

The United Kingdom maintains its position as a global fintech leader, second only to the United States. In 2023, the UK fintech scene attracted $5.1 billion across 409 deals, further solidifying its status as Europe’s top market. Home to around 2,500 fintech firms, the UK continues to expand in various specializations, including digital payment technologies and Islamic compliant initiatives.

Peter Ashby, director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy in Riyadh and deputy UK trade commissioner for the Middle East, recognizes the rapid growth of Saudi Arabia’s fintech business. He points out that the Kingdom is swiftly becoming one of the most dynamic sectors in the region.

Saudi Arabia, with its Vision 2030, aims to become the region’s fintech hub. The target is to establish 525 fintech companies by 2030, contributing SR13.3 billion (approximately $3.55 billion) to the direct GDP.

The UK’s involvement, particularly through strong delegations like this, is instrumental in supporting the Kingdom’s fintech sector growth. This collaboration involves established companies and innovative fintech startups and investors, creating a fertile ground for mutual benefits and groundbreaking developments in the financial technology landscape.