“Fintech Borderless. Eurasia Digital”. What has the first PLUS-Forum in Kazakhstan shown?
International PLUS-Forum “Fintech Borderless. Eurasia Digital” took place in Almaty on October 27-28, 2021. Today, we are going to acquaint PLUS readers with the key results of the event.
No one doubts today that it is digitalization and fintech that largely determine the further development of not the financial area alone, but also other areas, for the period of at least several decades. Therefore, the effectiveness of transformation scenarios we choose will determine the success of our future. And from this point of view, the countries of Central Asia, as well as the entire Eurasian economic space, have appeared to be one of the most promising markets in recent years. In this context, of particular attention is Kazakhstan with its banking and national payment systems, fintech and public services sectors demonstrating a major breakthrough in recent years. That is why the city of Almaty was chosen the venue for the PLUS-Forum “Fintech Borderless. Digital Eurasia” – the first large-scale event and the second one after the start of the pandemic.
The event was attended by 65 key speakers and over 800 top managers and experts in the field of banking, fintech and retail from more than 20 countries. Representatives of regulators, top managers from the banking community and the payment industry, telecommunications, research and consulting companies of the EAEU, CIS, SCO and other countries of Eurasia, as well as technology and manufacturing companies, discussed the development of the national payment system, the prospects for central bank digital currencies (CBDC), retail sector transformation, cyber resilience in banking and many other edgy topics.
The large-scale exhibition area of the PLUS-Forum displayed products from more than 60 world's leading technology companies, equipment vendors and solution and service providers. Global leaders’ innovative technologies and their use cases at various financial institutions were also presented.
UZCARD, KAFOLAT and ARCA GROUP were the title sponsors of the PLUS-Forum in Kazakhstan.
Ruslan Beketayev, Minister for Economy and Financial Policy of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), opening the Forum together with Alexander Grizov, Chairman of the Steering Committee and Head of the PLUS Media Holding, noted that Kazakhstan is a promising and rapidly developing market, and it is indicative, therefore, that Almaty was chosen the venue of the 2nd International PLUS-Forum “Fintech Borderless. Eurasia Digital”.
Extending a welcome to the participants of the event on his own behalf and on behalf of the Eurasian Economic Commission, the EEC Minister stressed that the Forum will discuss the most relevant topics for the digital and technological market.
Then, before the opening of the first Forum session “Digital Banking and Fintech. Innovations of the 21st century”, the conference hall stage featured a public dialogue with Ruslan Beketayev on the most pressing topics of the current state and transformation of the economy and financial industry of Kazakhstan and other countries of the Eurasian economic space. This discussion with the Minister of Economy and Financial Policy was anchored by Alma Obayeva, Board Chairman of the National Payments Council not-for-profit partnership (NPS).
According to Ruslan Beketayev, the pandemic has changed the perception of the payment market by now: “Currently, we see an increase in the share of non-cash payments in the EAEU countries. For example, non-cash transactions in Kazakhstan have grown from 51% in 2020 to 75% in 2021.”
COVID-19 has also given impetus to the research of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). According to the Bank for International Settlements, 55 of 65 central banks of the countries surveyed are conducting research in the field of digital currency, 39 countries are testing the technologies, and 9 countries already implement pilot projects aimed to introduce digital currencies.
“Digital currencies projects are widely discussed in the EAEU countries as well. So, the Bank of Russia published the Digital Ruble report in 2020 and the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan presented the Digital Tenge report in May 2021. Digital currencies of central banks can become an effective tool to speed up cross-border payments, thus stimulating the increase in trade volumes within the Union,” Ruslan Beketayev stressed.
According to the EEC Minister, we are on the eve of the 4th technological revolution, since the adoption of digital currencies results in a deep transformation of consumer behavior, which is being certainly recalibrated by the “third form of money”.
At the same time, he indicated that implementation of such a project may trigger certain risks associated with cybersecurity and protection of confidential data.
Yerlan Ashykbekov, Director of the Payment Systems Department, National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, was the first speaker at the plenary session of the Forum. He mentioned the high level of the PLUS-Forum organization, an interesting and well-thought-out pogramme, as well as an impressive selection of speakers. He stressed that the market of Kazakhstan demonstrates a very dynamic growth: “The key trend is the development of non-cash payments. We are moving steadily towards a cashless economy. We are now seeing an increase in the adoption of innovative financial products.”
According to the speaker, an effective digital legal field has also been formed in Kazakhstan, and the National Bank, for its part, is working to make sure that the market regulation is as balanced as possible.
Kaspi.kz Board Chairman Mikhail Lomtadze noted in his speech that Kazakhstan managed to become one of the most advanced regions in the fintech sector and even bypassed Russia in terms of cashless transactions growth (+ 138% and + 39%, respectively).
The capitalization of Kaspi.kz now exceeds $25 billion. As Mikhail Lomtadze noted, Chinese WeChat is the only one global service that demonstrates more impressive figures.
Among other key speakers:
● Shukhrat Fayzullaev, Deputy Director of the Payment Systems Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan
● Anton Mousin, First Deputy Chairman, Halyk Bank
● Aidos Jumagulov, Councillor, Board of Directors, Freedom Finance Bank Kazakhstan
● Alina Anikina, Board Chairman, Alfa-Bank, Kazakhstan
● Amyrkhan Chikanaev, Managing Director for Digital Development, Sberbank Kazakhstan
● Nurlan Akshanov, Deputy Board Chairman (Sales Unit), House Construction Savings Bank of Kazakhstan (Otbasy bank)
● Molder Rysalieva, General Director, OZON Marketplace Kazakhstan
● Dmitry Komissar, General Director, ForteMarket marketplace
● Ivan Belokhvostikov, Deputy Board Chairman, Board Member, Eurasian Bank
● Maxim Melnik, CEO, Satu.kz marketplace
● Alma Obaeva, Board Chairman, National Payments Council not-for-profit partnership (NPS)
● Rafal Trepka, General Director, Mastercard Central Asia
● Konstantin Gorozhankin, President of Internet-Business Association, Co-founder Processing.kz, Ticketon.kz
● Bekzhan Mutanov, Deputy Chairman, AIFC Tech Hub
● Evgeny Pavlov, Head of Business Development, Binance, Russia and CIS
● and many others
Our special thanks to the sponsors and partners who extended their support to the first event of such scale and format in Kazakhstan! See you at the next PLUS-Forums!
Sponsors and partners of the PLUS-Forum:
Title Sponsors: UZCARD, KAFOLAT and ARCA GROUP
Cocktail Sponsor: Mastercard
Platinum Sponsors: IBS PROJECT, BS/2, Diebold Nixdorf
Gold Sponsors: Vision Labs, Freedom Finance Insurance, NETinfo, TietoEVRY, Oz Forensics, WHITEBIRD, Robokassa, THALES, Nadeks, Alioth, Edna, Center for Corporate Technologies, INPAS, Regula Forensics, RBK.money, Financial Information Systems LLC, Currency.com, Energize Global Services, AppsFlyer.
Silver Sponsors: FBS, Fido-biznes, ATM Alliance, Buhta, Intervale Kazakhstan, OpenWay, Qiwi Kazakhstan, UPT
Bronze Sponsors: KM Alliance, Dataphone, RightLine, OSTCARD, Wordline, STC Group, POSSOFT, ContactDesign, Verigram, AdvanIDe, Tarlan Payments, CARDHALL Group, ID Smart, CITYNET, Imigrant Invest, Reeves
Partners: Dr Web, Rocket Work, Colvir
Associate Partners: Ukrainian Association of Fintech and Innovative Companies, KPMG, TechHub, Financial and Banking Association for Euro-Asian Cooperation (FBA EAC), Association of Corporate Treasurers, NPA (National Payment Association), SME Banking Club, Union of Banks of Armenia, Union of Banks of Kyrgyzstan, National Payment Council, Association of eMoney and Remittance Market Participants (AED), Association of Banks of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Association of Belarusian Banks, Vyberu.ru.
Media Partners: Frank RG, Club of IT& Digital Directors, Technopark of St. Petersburg, National Banking Journal (NBJ), beincrypto, Optimism.kz, LSM, Bluescreen.kz, Qazaqpress.kz, JOBSORA, Club of IT Directors ‘ya-IT-y’, Violet Violin, FintechWave, Almaty TV, RIA Novosti, Interfax, MyProfit, NewTimes.kz.
The next PLUS-Forum “Fintech Borderless” will take place on October 26-27, 2022.
See you at the Forum!