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STEPHANIE McGEHEE

KUWAIT, KUWAIT - Finance

Sheikh Ahmed Duaij Al-Sabah

Chairman, Kuwait Banking Association (KBA)

Bio

Sheikh Ahmad Duaij Jaber Al Sabah assumed the role of Chairman of Commercial Bank of Kuwait in 2018. He was nominated as Chairman of KBA effective from February 20, 2022 and became a member of the World Union of Arab Bankers in May 2022. He has also been a board member of the Kuwait Institute of Banking Studies since 2018. Furthermore, he held the position of board member at Kuwait Clearing Company, representing the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, from 2018-2019. He was recommended once again on May 11, 2022 as member of the board of directors of Kuwait Clearing Company. He previously held the position of Chairman of Al Tijari Financial Brokerage Company. Al Sabah graduated with an MBA from Maastricht School of Management after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in science with a major in finance from Bentley College, US.

"KBA prioritizes ongoing transparent dialogue to address topics and issues related to the banking industry."
KBA is committed to fulfilling its fundamental role as a professional association that advocates for the interests, issues, and concerns of its members.
How is KBA fostering innovation and digital transformation within the local banking sector?

The financial and banking industry has seen remarkable advancements, particularly in financial technology, making it one of the most promising sectors globally. These developments increase efficiency, accessibility of products and services, reduce costs, and enhance customer convenience and delivery channels and speed. The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) actively fosters the growth of the banking and financial sector, encouraging creativity, innovation, and accelerating digital transformation to reinforce monetary and financial stability. CBK has established a framework for banks to develop their digital banking services and has launched initiatives to cultivate the fintech ecosystem, including a regulatory sandbox to foster collaboration between sector players and banks. CBK also prioritizes the enhancement of its regulatory framework, particularly in cybersecurity and electronic payments. KBA is undergoing digital transformation to improve customer experiences and offer better services. As Kuwaiti banks continue to adopt innovative technology solutions, partnerships between Kuwaiti banks and fintech companies are becoming increasingly common. In this landscape, KBA collaborates closely with CBK to stay abreast of global banking industry developments. KBA’s specialized fintech committee, comprising representatives from local banks, monitors modern financial technologies, along with associated risks and challenges. Furthermore, KBA organizes workshops and seminars in collaboration with major regional and global institutions to ensure the banking sector stays informed about important developments and emerging technologies.

What role does KBA play in supporting ESG principles within its member institutions?

In alignment with Kuwait’s sustainable development goals under the new Kuwait Vision 2035, Kuwaiti banks are capitalizing on sustainable business opportunities toward a more sustainable finance approach, through the increase of finance to environmental and social benefits. This includes the promotion of green finance instruments to support projects in areas such as renewable energy, sustainable transportation, eco-friendly buildings, as well as social financing for initiatives in healthcare, education, and many other areas. At the same time, banks are trying to link climate strategies with new business opportunities, putting more focus on product innovations. Recognizing the significant influence that financial institutions wield on the environment and society, KBA was proactive in establishing a new specialized committee dedicated to enhancing environmental, social and governance practices in the country’s banking sector. The strategic move underscores KBA’s endeavors toward responsible and sustainable banking practices in Kuwait. The establishment of the new committee was essential to ensure adherence to sustainability standards in banks’ strategies and daily operations, with the aim of positively impacting society and driving sustainable growth in line with global best practices. The committee’s strategic initiatives will undoubtedly contribute to enhancing the sector’s overall reputation, attracting responsible investors, and fostering long-term sustainability in Kuwait’s financial landscape.

How does KBA collaborate with regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to ensure a stable and secure banking environment?

As a key intermediary with the regulatory authorities, particularly CBK, KBA prioritizes ongoing transparent dialogue to address topics and issues related to the banking industry and its operational landscape. Over the years, CBK has regularly sought input from KBA on regulatory circulars and emerging banking and financial technologies to ensure alignment with the development of this vital sector, in addition to its constant concern for financial stability, information security, and modern financial technologies. Furthermore, KBA cooperates closely with the regulatory authorities and other relevant government agencies in cybersecurity and combating fraud areas, where KBA actively contributes to safeguarding banking sector customers and upholding the stability of the financial system. An example of this is the close cooperation between KBA, CBK, Ministry of Interior and Public prosecution, in the centralized virtual room dealing with electronic fraud. KBA serves as a liaison between government regulatory and the legislative authorities to achieve the development of the banking sector and foster stability and economic growth, where KBA has represented banks in various discussions, and has been involved in signing agreements and MoUs that contribute directly and indirectly to facilitating banks businesses.

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