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Saudi Trade Finance Summit debates emerging trends

Embarking on adopting new trends and instituting preparations for the upcoming changes will assist in achieving Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification plan, which places emphasis on the development of the country’s non-oil sectors. But simply adopting these trends will be insufficient in the long run, the Saudi Trade Finance Summit (STF) was told. The Summit facilitated discussions and debate on the continued growth and evolution of global trade, including the demand for innovative products and solutions.

Therefore, to capitalize on these trend by implementing and integrating them into the economy, policy documents such as the Vision 2030 and NTP 2020 provide a roadmap. These policy documents provide guidelines for the development of various sectors including tourism, mining, IT, and services, while also recognizing the importance of foreign direct investment, joint ventures and private-public partnerships in laying the foundation in the medium term.

Commenting on the Evolving Landscape of Trade Finance in KSA, Arup Roy – Head of Global Trade & Receivables Finance(GTRF), Saudi British Bank said “Ongoing changes in consumption patterns, decline in commodity prices, rationalization of projects, focus on digitization, process efficiency, growth in inter-regional trade and the rising power of Asian trading partners are some of the key trends being witnessed in Saudi,’’

Sidh N.C, Director, QnA International said, “Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the GCC and an economic and political force for change across the wider MENA region. We heard from the Kingdom’s influential senior finance professionals and decision-makers, as the Kingdom races ahead with its economic diversification and continued modernisation policies. Under Saudi Vision 2030, we have witnessed a number of ground-breaking developments over recent months, including advances to boost transport, health, oil and gas, SMEs and health. As these policies continue to support economic diversification, financial institutions and corporates will in turn be supported to achieve sustainable growth.”

SMEs too will play an important role in Saudi Arabia’s diversification plans by providing numerous business opportunities and employment. “Beside large exporters, it is imperative to encourage SMEs to look at overseas markets, particularly GCC and other Middle Eastern countries to expand business. Banks together with government agencies, large corporates, ECAs and Insurance companies should come together to create an eco-system that support overall SME growth,” commented Roy, echoing sentiments shared and discussed at the Summit of the financial sector’s role in the SME sector.

Key insights on Islamic banking were also shared during the course of the Summit. Roy stated that “Islamic banking remains the preferred choice amongst mid-market and SME local businesses. Therefore, financial institutions continue to adopt proactive approach to solve issues plaguing Islamic banking such as product development, documentation, lack of standardization and induction of trained human capital.”

“Trade is integral to the regional economy and as the driving force in the region, Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to facilitate the change that will drive the future of trade. Over the past two days, we were privileged to hear from the top finance professionals in Saudi Arabia on a gamut of topics. We have learnt and discussed new approaches to existing and oncoming challenges, and then debated the issues with implementation and management. This was the first time the Summit was held in the Kingdom’s industrial capital, Al Khobar, reflecting the Kingdom’s focus on key economic and industrial sectors during these times of significant global challenges and change,” commented Sidh N.C, Director, QnA International.

The premier Saudi Trade Finance Summit which hosts the key stakeholders and the best and brightest finance executives and professionals, thought leaders and change managers is the Kingdom’s largest and most influential trade finance gathering, uniting top CFOs with key stakeholders in Government and Regulatory Authorities, Financial Institutions, Technology providers, Trade Credit Insurers, Consulting and Advisory firms, Supply Chain Financers and Alternate Financiers. The 5th annual Saudi Trade Finance Summit was held at the Mövenpick Hotel, Al Khobar from 14-15 November 2017.