Kuwait Finance House (KFH) participated in “The Role of the Private Sector in the Future of the Kuwaiti Economy” conference organized by The Business Year (TBY) magazine and sponsored by KFH. The conference was held in partnership with Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) in London, UK.
In the conference, KFH Group CEO- Mazin Saad Al-Nahedh demonstrated the importance of digital transformation in the banking sector, and the role of Kuwaiti banks in supporting Kuwait Vision 2035. Al-Nahedh tackled instrumental topics of which is the significant role of KFH in supporting the Kuwaiti economy and the expertise of the Bank in the Islamic finance industry.
“In line with Kuwait`s national development plan that stems from his Highness the Amir’s vision of a new Kuwait by 2035, the country is working to diversify its economy and I believe that the private sector, in particular the banking sector is well-equipped to play a positive role in Kuwait`s future economic development”, Al-Nahedh said.
“As Kuwait has $32bn-worth of public projects, in its near-term pipeline, the banking sector is well-equipped to play an important role to support the long-term development of Kuwait’s infrastructure given the prospect of greater expected project activity in the second half of 2019 and in 2020. This role involves financing of these projects, providing banking services starting from basic lending activity to more complex transactions as well as consulting, trade facilities and other banking business”, Al- Nahedh explained.
He mentioned that the Kuwaiti economy witnessed several changes and developments that resulted in necessary reforms, adding that Kuwait enjoys high levels of accumulated fiscal and external buffers and has major competitive advantages to be a global trade and investments hub.
A Major Role
He laid stress on the participation of the banking sector to achieve Kuwait’s Vision 2035 and transform the country into a world-class financial and commercial center, adding that with the talented pool of highly educated young Kuwaiti nationals the local banks have, the banking sector is a vital contributor in achieving this vision.
Al-Nahedh explained that the banking sector in Kuwait will have a major role to play in supporting the government in the implementation of some of the key plan pillars that target the transformation of Kuwait into a leading regional, financial, commercial and cultural hub by 2035.
Meanwhile, he said that KFH is involved in nearly every major financial transaction in Kuwait, from financing government and private companies for local projects to financing their ventures abroad more recently KIPIC´s LNG ventures internationally.
Along with the rest of the banking sector, Al-Nahedh said that KFH is a key component of the 2035 vision as it is a leading Islamic financial institution enabling national development and growth of the financial services industry while also helping facilitate the growth and diversification of investment efforts of many other economic sectors.
He also expressed confidence that the role played by the private sector, especially banks, will create a diversified and prosperous economy in the coming five or ten years. Thanks to Pushed by reforms, regulations and technology, the Kuwaiti private sector will need to understand their role in establishing and rejuvenating the economy, exploiting the opportunities it offers in the best way possible and be prepared to reap the benefits of the last reforms and ambitious programs according to the pillars of Kuwait`s national development plan, he added.
Technology and Digital Transformation
With regards to the technology and digital transformation in the banking industry, Al- Nahedh said that the banking sector is being transformed through technology, adding that the industry is undergoing a process of digital transformation where many processes are being fully automated.
He mentioned that the future of banking is technology, explaining that the banking and financial industry has seen huge innovations and use of technology in recent years. In the era of disruptive innovation, the mobile banking, contactless payment technology, Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, robotics, big data, Artificial intelligence becoming an integral part of our everyday lives, he added.
Al-Nahedh noted that more than three quarters of financial institutions will increase internal efforts to innovate, with many businesses embracing the disruptive nature of FinTech according to a report issued by PwC
In this regard, he stressed that Kuwaiti banks are keen to invest in banking and financial technology and digital transformation, saying that this trend will enhance the role of the private sector in the Kuwaiti economy as it is a key part of Kuwait`s efforts to become a regional financial and commercial hub.
In this context, he explained that KFH is an undisputed leader in innovation to expand and enhance the range of products and services. KFH released the first fully automated 24hr digital self-branches in Kuwait under the theme of KFH-Go and the first automated virtual queuing system for costumers, showing the emphasis on convenience and higher levels of service. Most importantly, KFH deployed a cross border remittance service with RippleNet, putting KFH at the forefront of innovation in the region as KFH taps into blockchain technology as an enabler for its growth.
Supporting Economic and Investment Efforts
KFH's participation came within the framework of its commitment to supporting the economic and investment efforts and highlighting the importance of the role of the private sector in economic development, while encouraging investments of added value to the Kuwaiti economy as this conference showcases the country's ambition to the entire global investor community. The conference highlighted the role of the banking sector, and the investment opportunities available in the public and private sectors, while discussed developments in the business environment and the financing solutions, especially that Kuwait is increasingly looking to the private sector to diversify and boost its economy across a range of sectors in line with its “New Kuwait 2035 Vision” to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub.
The conference discussed different topics in several panels such as: Kuwait's financial sector: cornerstone of the country's privatization, the increased diversification of the Kuwaiti economy as a fuel for the future, and digital economy and entrepreneurship to promote digital transformation and spur economic diversification. Bringing together senior public officials and top local and foreign business leaders, the event inspired a dialog that will bring new momentum to Kuwait's vision.