Date: 27 September 2023
Time: 7:30 AM UTC
Duration: 60 min
Language: English
Format: Online
This webinar is over - watch on demand here

Middle East: The Fintech Race in the GCC

Fintech enablement & development in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region has been evolving at an accelerating pace. While the spark of innovation may have ignited in one jurisdiction, various regulators in the GCC have been raising in the support & growth of the fintech sector. 

Our expert fintech lawyers & market players will dive into the real and practical topics in various fintech categories in the region with focus on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) & the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Key Takeaways:

1. GCC Fintech – an overview. The discussion delves into the key differentiating factors which have resulted in such varied development paces between each GCC member country.

2. Growth driven by payments. The need for alternative payment mechanisms to legacy cross-border remittance methods also played a pivotal role in the fintech sector expansion. As needs continue to evolve, the focus remains on addressing the need for different payment means. 

3. The cryptocurrency wave. Issuance & trade of cryptocurrencies also passed through the region driving developments in issuing and offering virtual currencies as well as exchange platforms.

4. NFTs. The growth of talent & arts created an opportunity to consider issuing and offering NFTs in the market. This has led to increased opportunities for new ways of obtaining recognition and compensation, all while fostering a dynamic digital art ecosystem.

5. The balance between target licenses & market consolidation. Each regulator in the region has certain targets that include the issuance of a certain number of licenses in the fintech sector. However, not all fintech initiatives have had the same success story despite the clear need in the market. This trend suggests a growing push towards the need for consolidation in the markets.

Karim Fawaz

Karim Fawaz is the managing partner at AX Law where he leads the corporate technology transactions practice. He is one of the leading fintech lawyers in the Middle East and is highly sought after for his work on telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) transactions.

Prior to joining AX Law, Karim led the Saudi-focused practice group of one of the world’s five largest law firms, and prior to that, he worked at the largest foreign law firm in the Middle East, where he established and grew the firm’s corporate technology practice.

Karim has also held legal roles inside the technology industry, namely as corporate counsel at Cisco Systems and Cisco Capital, leading the MEA legal team in major projects in technology transactions and technology finance.

Mirko Olmos

Mirko Olmos is an associate at AX Law with over five years’ experience in the legal industry. Prior to joining AX Law, he co-led the FinTech & Technology practice at the top-ranked law firm in Bolivia, Moreno Baldivieso.

He is currently dedicated to advising Fintech companies in KSA and UAE, including multiple startups and STC Bank (owner and operator of STCpay) on its day-to-day legal matters, complex technology transactions, and Fintech and regulatory requirements. 

Gianluca de Feo

Gianluca de Feo is an associate at AX Law where he advises clients on fintech, TMT and commercial legal matters, including outsourcing, software development and licensing agreements, agreements relating to emerging technologies, data protection, regulatory compliance for telecommunications and Internet operators, consumer protection, advertising and corporate operations.

Prior to joining AX Law, Gianluca worked at a top-ranked firm in Italy and was part of the fintech practice group at a magic circle law firm.

Elie Nasr

A growth-focused entrepreneur and a digital enthusiast, Elie Nasr is co-founder of OORI a company focused on democratizing access to private markets through blockchain / tokenization.

Elie had two successful exits both in Fintech: FOO -  A B2B fintech company and RAY LABS – a Proptech company focused on tenant relationship management. He had significant exposure to fintech, and has contributed in building & investing in a number of startups focused on disrupting their sectors.

Elie’s professional track record includes management consulting at Accenture in Munich and managing multinational projects at BMW.

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