Digitisation of core financial and banking processes in the Middle East and North Africa has gathered noticeable momentum in recent years, and can no longer be termed as a passing phase, according to a recent report.
As the demand for cutting-edge online banking from millennial consumers continue to rise, the report by Al Masah Capital found that swift response to these evolving consumer needs and be at the forefront of effective and efficient technological transformations is paramount.
The MENA region offers compelling and promising opportunities for the banks and other financial institutions, with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia emerging as two of the most active markets in the development of a digital ecosystem.
In terms of adoption, the UAE is now leading the pack regionally with an impressive 16.4 % in digital penetration.
It is followed closely by its smaller neighbours, Qatar and Bahrain with 14.9% and 13.6% respectively, followed by Saudi Arabia with 11.5%.
Collectively, the MENA region, with 4.1%, seems to be closing the digital gap with North America with 8% and Europe with 6.2%, as players in the Gulf region continue to make meaningful investments in telecom infrastructure, digital readiness initiatives, and competitive arrangements for network providers.
“The Middle East, being no exception to the global trend, is now on the verge of a massive digital disruption. Businesses and governments are now alive to the fact that in order to optimise operating costs and resources, guarantee customer satisfaction, attract new customers, and gain competitive advantage, digital adoption is a must,” said Shailesh Dash, chief executive officer of Al Masah Capital.
The UAE government has been keen to develop all required digital infrastructure through substantial spending and attracting private investments. This has strategically positioned the country on the path to becoming one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world, claims the report.
On its part, Saudi Arabia is also rapidly transforming itself as an attractive destination for regional banks.
Through the National Transformation Program, Saudi banks have lately been focusing on the digital transformation of traditional banking services, which has subsequently resulted in the rise of digital technologies.