The Central Bank of Saudi Arabia has issued trading licences to 14 fintech companies, all operating in lending and payment services.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authoruty (SAMA) is the government body charged with approving the new licences. Expansion of the fintech sector is a priority for the de facto leader of the kingdom Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who is striving to reform the economy and wean the country off its reliance on the hydrocarbons industry.
According to a report in Arabian Business, the new batch of firms include HalalaH, Geidea, Bayan Payments Company Limited, Saudi Digital Payments Company, Saudi Post, Brightware and Tap Payments.
The new licences bring the total number of fintech companies operating in the country to 21. Regionally the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads with 67 registered fintech firms, followed by Turkey (44), Jordan (30) and Lebanon (30).
The UAE with 67 was followed by Turkey at 44 and Jordan and Lebanon at 30 each. The total number of fintech companies operating across the MENA region is forecast to reach 465 by the end of 2020.