2024 — Navigating Open Banking in MENA's Financial Landscape

As we embark on 2024, the MENA region's financial outlook is poised for a transformative journey, echoing recent shifts. Fintech and open banking will play pivotal roles, reshaping the industry and ushering in new solutions. This blog delves into trends that will define the financial services sector in MENA during this period.

Personalisation, Personalisation, Personalisation

Open banking is set to bring in a new era of financial personalisation. Customers will experience a tailored approach to banking services, enhancing their overall financial journey. Expect personalised product recommendations, customised financial advice, and dynamically adjusted services based on individual spending patterns. This heightened level of personalisation not only improves customer satisfaction but also builds stronger relationships between financial institutions and their clients. Open banking's ability to securely share data across platforms enables a holistic understanding of customer behavior, allowing for the delivery of truly individualised financial solutions.

Open Banking Payments Take Flight

Anticipate the launch of open banking payment regulations, particularly in countries like Saudi Arabia. In 2024, payments will soar, offering frictionless, secure, and simplified methods. This boom will benefit merchants, consumers, and payment providers, increasing transaction volumes.

Sustainable Finance Leadership in MENA

Within the MENA region, banks, financial institutions, and fintechs are taking the lead in advancing sustainable finance. Leveraging technology, they contribute to environmental and social impact, recognising the financial industry's role in financing the 2030 sustainable development agenda. Open banking is crucial in this leadership, facilitating seamless data exchange among entities. This fosters specialised green financing solutions, democratises access to sustainable investments, and promotes standardised frameworks, contributing to a resilient, inclusive, green economy.

AI Dominance in Conjunction with Open Banking

Open banking intersects significantly with the surge in artificial intelligence (AI) advancements. Increased investments in AI aim to revolutionise customer experiences, enhance fraud detection mechanisms, and drive growth across fintech sectors. The integration of AI within open banking operations becomes a key enabler for mitigating misinformation risks. This convergence underscores a landscape where open banking and AI jointly refine and secure financial services.

Open Banking Across MENA Countries

Bahrain's Practical Application

Bahrain anticipates the scaling up of live open banking use cases, showcasing practical applications within the financial landscape. This transformation includes improved credit scoring accuracy and streamlined lending processes.

Evolution in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is experiencing the evolution of open banking, leveraging live use cases for data connectivity, account aggregation, income verification, and faster lending processes. A notable focus is reducing fraud risks, with open banking-enabled payments gaining prominence through SAMA's launch of Payments regulations.

Regulatory Framework in UAE

The UAE is set to implement long-awaited open banking regulations, triggering a competitive race among fintechs for licenses. This regulatory framework fosters innovation, healthy competition, and the country's advancement of its financial landscape.

Other GCC Countries:

  • The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) formulates a framework for introducing open banking, with transformative potential for the banking and financial services industry.
  • In Kuwait, the Central Bank (CBK) supports fintech innovation through regulatory sandbox approvals, with the anticipated launch of CBK's open banking framework in 2024.
  • In Qatar, the nascent adoption of open banking reflects efforts by the Qatar Central Bank and financial institutions. The 2023 Fintech Sector Strategy Summary emphasises developing a robust framework, facilitating digital transformation. Qatar National Bank's dedicated Open Banking Platform, launched in 2022, marks a significant stride in this direction.

As we navigate through 2024, the MENA region stands at the forefront of financial innovation. Fintech and open banking emerge not merely as trends but as catalysts propelling the industry toward a future marked by enhanced efficiency, inclusivity, and unprecedented possibilities. Stay tuned for the unfolding of these exciting developments throughout the year.


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