SAMA : Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority

SAMA Chairman Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey.

:: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) launched its initiative “Fintech Saudi” on Sunday. Fintech Saudi strives for the development of the financial services technology industry in Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey has been the chairman of SAMA since May 2016. He has been its governor since May 7, 2016. Alkholifey has also served as the deputy governor of SAMA’s Research and International Affairs.

Prior to his 15 years of experience in different departments at SAMA, Alkholifey worked as a legal specialist at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. He joined SAMA as an economist in 1995.

Alkholifey attained a law degree from King Saud University, an MBA and a Ph.D. in Economics from Colorado State University.

SAMA was established in 1952 and is the central bank of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was previously known as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.

The authority aims to transform the Kingdom into an innovative fintech hub with a thriving ecosystem driven by local and international stakeholders. It also aims to achieve this goal by bringing together public and private organizations to foster a culture of innovation, building a broad understanding of fintech and supporting the growth of fintech entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The initiative is aligned with Saudi Vision 2030. Fintech is an emerging financial services sector. It applies to any innovation in how people transact business, from the introduction of digital currency to double-entry bookkeeping.

Fintech startups received $17.4 billion in funding in 2016 and were on pace to surpass that sum as of late 2017, according to CB Insights, which counted 26 fintech unicorns globally valued at $83.8 billion.

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