ACCA hosts conference on technology in the Middle East finance sector

29 March 2019 Consultancy-me.com

The ACCA has hosted a regional conference on technology and innovation in the Middle East finance sector, with the inaugural event featuring leaders from Grant Thornton, Accenture, and Deloitte among a range of speakers.

Following its recent women in finance forum in Dubai, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has hosted its inaugural Techovate Regional Conference, bringing together senior ACCA members and key stakeholders to discuss the impact of technology and innovation on the finance sector in the Middle East – with some of the region’s leading consultants among the speakers.

“In a bid to eradicate the myth and preconception of technology, we have been working on distilling the impact which technology will have for our members and wider commercial society, alongside aligning our approach to the regional innovation strategy which will see the UAE become the smartest in the world by 2030,” said ACCA Middle East director Lindsay Degouve de Nuncques.

Degouve de Nuncques’ opening address was followed by a keynote presentation from Accenture’s MENA digital lead Xavi Anglada (who also appeared at the recent World Mobile Conference as well as last year’s Artificial Intelligence Week in the Middle East) – who prior to joining Accenture served as the CEO of Cash Credit, a Delta Partners-backed fintech start-up providing micro-finance services.ACCA hosts conference on technology in the Middle East finance sectorOther speakers from the consulting realm included Deloitte Middle East senior Audit & Assurance partner Cynthia Corby (last year named by Forbes as one of the 100 most influential women in the Middle East), and Grant Thornton Transformation Advisory Partner George Stoyanov, who spoke on unlocking value through tech transformation and big data, AI and analytical benchmarking.

A near twenty-year consulting veteran in the region, with extensive experience in corporate governance, risk management and internal audit serving the financial services industry, Stoyanov prior to joining Grant Thornton in 2017 was a director in EY’s financial services advisory division out of Abu Dhabi, before which he served as a director with PwC’s Risk Assurance Services practice in Kuwait.

Attendees also heard from Joy Ajlouny, who together with BCG alumnus Idriss Al Rifai co-founded Fetchr, as well as Pierre Arman, Market Development Lead for Tax and Accounting with Thomson Reuters, Mansoor Sarwar, a director with enterprise software firm Sage, and Sayd Farook, a doctor in behavioural economics and adviser to the office of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“Great discussions on how technology and digital are disrupting the financial services industry at ACCA Techovate Conference in Dubai,” wrote Anglada in a follow-up post on LinkedIn. “From an inspiring and personal view from Joy Ajlouny throughout her entrepreneurship journey, to the visionary PoV on innovation from Sayd Farook, helping shape Dubai's future, to many other key leaders in the banking space.”

EY estimates $33 billion boon to UAE economy from Expo 2020 Dubai

16 April 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Professional services firm Ernst & Young has outlined the potential economic impact of Expo 2020 Dubai to the UAE economy, concluding a possible $33 billion windfall in gross value add and a near 50,000 full-time equivalent jobs per annum to 2031.

With the Expo 2020 Dubai global showcase now just around the corner – and expected to attract 25 million visits from across the world during its six month schedule from October next year – professional services firm Ernst & Young has released an economic impact report for the event, calculating a US$33 billion (AED122.6 billion) boost of gross value added (GVA) to the local economy from 2013–2031 along with contributing more than 900,000 ‘job years’.

“Expo 2020 Dubai is an exciting long-term investment for the UAE, and is expected to have a significant impact on the economy and how jobs are created directly and indirectly,” said EY MENA Transaction Advisory Services partner Matthew Benson, adding; “Dubai aims to use the event to further enhance its international profile and reputation. The event will celebrate innovation, promote progress and foster cooperation, and entertain global audiences.”

According to the report, the six months of the Expo – the first to be held in anywhere in the Middle East, Africa or South Asia in the event’s 168-year history – will contribute around 1.5 percent of the UAE annual forecast GDP, with the analysts taking in ‘direct’ increases in economic activity, ‘indirect’ benefits of increased supply chain demand, and ‘induced’ benefits from increased spending by employees of participating firms to arrive at its $33 billion figure.EY estimates $33 billion boon to UAE economy from Expo 2020 DubaiConsidering further the planning and legacy phases, EY has in addition estimated AED 4.7 billion in investment to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the pre-Expo phase, supporting approximately 12,600 job-years, with the Expo expected to support more than 900,00 full-time equivalent (FTE) job-years in total in the Emirates from 2013 to 2031 – equivalent to some 49,700 FTE jobs. Meanwhile, strong legacy planning will ensure the ongoing benefits.

“Over 80 percent of the Expo built environment is planned to be retained for District 2020, and eventually expand into a city covering more than four million square meters,” states the report, adding that District 2020 aims to support the UAE’s future vision as to sustainable economic development and an innovation-driven economy, with a supportive business environment for key growth industries such as logistics and transport, tourism, construction, real estate and education.

“Although the Expo event lasts less than a year, the positive economic impact continues far beyond the event,” said Jamie Torrens, EY MENA’s head of Economic Advisory in its transaction advisory service division. “Across the period of our study, spanning the Pre-Expo, During-Expo and Legacy phases between 2013 and 2031, Expo 2020 is expected to support billions of dirhams of Gross Value Added (GVA) and thousands of jobs in the UAE.”

As a breakdown, the three largest impact areas across the full study period will be events organisation & business services (contributing over half of the overall figure) followed by construction and then hospitality, while transport, storage & communications will be another significant contributor during the life of the Expo and its planning phase. Retail will also see a boost during the legacy period, with nearly 550,000 jobs years created in this period across sectors.

“This independent report demonstrates that Expo 2020 Dubai is a critical long-term investment,” said Expo 2020 Executive Director Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali. “Not only will the event encourage millions around the world to visit the UAE in 2020, it will also stimulate travel and tourism and support economic diversification for years after the Expo, leaving a sustainable economic legacy that will help to ensure the UAE remains a leading destination for business, leisure and investment.”

Related: Accenture and SAP roll out next-generation technology for Dubai Expo