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Saudi Arabia Aims For 70% Cashless Transactions By 2025

The number of fintech firms in the MENA region skyrocketed from just 10 in 2018 to a substantial 147 in 2022.

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In the MENA region, fintech investments surged from $200 million in 2020 to around $704 million in 2023.

Saudi Arabia, driven by its ambitious Vision 2030 blueprint and a youthful population, has seen remarkable fintech growth. So much so that the Kingdom is now aiming for 70% of domestic payments to be digital by 2025, according to Philip Drury of CitiGroup.

Drury, speaking at the 3rd Saudi Capital Market Forum, noted the rise of operational fintech firms from 10 in 2018 to 147 in 2022 and emphasized the need for businesses to adapt swiftly to regulatory advancements, pointing to the 30 digital and 3 digital banking licenses issued as clear evidence of sector growth.

The CitiGroup executive also highlighted opportunities for expanded market reach and inclusivity, stressing collaboration between traditional banks and fintech for mutual success.

Also Read: A Guide To Digital Payment Methods In The Middle East

The Saudi Capital Market Forum, under Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan’s patronage, focused on “Powering Growth” and hosted over 54 speakers and 69 sponsors.

Nayef Al Athel, from Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Company, highlighted the event’s commitment to promoting market diversification. The forum also saw the introduction of Single Stock Options contracts on the Saudi National Bank, further developing the Kingdom’s financial markets.

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Initial Trials Of Dubai’s Driverless Evocargo Trucks Completed

Testing was announced on July 17, and the completion is a major milestone towards upgrading the region’s logistics infrastructure.

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A Dubai-based company has completed the initial trials for the UAE’s first driverless trucks. The groundbreaking achievement by Evocargo, partnering with Dubai South, took place at Dubai South Logistics District, and marked a significant step towards incorporating autonomous technologies into the region’s wider logistics infrastructure.

Announced on Wednesday, July 17th, the trials featured the Evocargo N1 unmanned electric truck navigating a predetermined route within a controlled setting. The test involved interactions with common road obstacles such as cars, trucks, and pedestrians, aiming to evaluate the vehicle’s hardware and software reliability, accident prevention systems, and overall readiness for public road use.

Officials were keen to highlight that this accomplishment aligns with the UAE’s ambitious strategy to position itself as a global leader in innovation and technology adoption. The country aims to have 25% of all transportation in Dubai autonomous by 2030, underscoring its commitment to revolutionizing the logistics sector using advanced technologies.

Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District at Dubai South, emphasized the importance of the collaboration with Evocargo in enhancing the region’s logistics capabilities. He noted that autonomous vehicles are set to increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and establish a sustainable logistics infrastructure that will benefit both Dubai and the wider UAE.

Also Read: Riyadh Developers Reveal New 45,000-Seat Murabba Stadium

Ahmed Al-Ansi, CEO of Evocargo Autonomous Logistic Services, also expressed optimism that the trials will draw new customers and investments across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The partnership aims to lead in innovative tech solutions, further establishing the UAE as a pioneer in autonomous transportation.

The successful completion of the trials marks a crucial step towards realizing the UAE’s vision for a technologically advanced and sustainable future in which autonomous vehicles are expected to play a pivotal role in global logistics.

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