Saudi Arabia Grants Fintech Licences
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Manafa Capital and Scopeer became the first companies in Saudi Arabia to obtain licenses for facilitation activities in fintech field. The country's regulator approved these documents on a pilot basis. The authorization from the Capital Market Authority (CMA) will allow companies to offer investment and crowdfunding services in the country.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

- Since last year, the country's authorities have become increasingly interested in new technologies but still have not expressed an official position regarding blockchain.

- Last year, the Central Banks of Saudi Arabia and the UAE began to test cryptocurrencies for cross-border payments.

In February, Saudi Arabia Money Agency decided to partner up with blockchain startup Ripple. The country's banks will use the xCurrent solution to improve the efficiency of payments.

According to Reuters, private investors will now be able to buy shares of small and medium-sized enterprises on electronic platforms with paid access. In the future CMA is planning to receive more applications for such licenses.

The Licenses of Financial Technology Laboratory (FTLL) are part of ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ project. This reform will include a privatization of a stake in the world's largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, to diversify the oil-heavy economy and to allow for the development of the fintech sector.

By Nadya Astam

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