Event Speakers

by alphabetical order

Abdulaziz Alnashwan

Chief Credit Officer, SME Bank
Abdulaziz Alnashwan

Abdulaziz Alnashwan

Chief Credit Officer, SME Bank


Abdulaziz Alnashwan is currently the Chief Credit Officer at SME Bank where he held multiple positions including the Chief CX Officer and the Executive Director of Product Development. Prior to that, Abdulaziz led the Equity Funding activities at Monshaat where he was responsible for activating investments in startups and SMEs through regulatory changes and funding.

Prior to that, Abdulaziz was the Deputy Director of the Financial Sector Development Program where he led the development and implementation of vision initiatives in different sectors including Banking, Asset Management, Insurance, Fintech, and Islamic banking. Abdulaziz also worked at Hassana Investment company, managing a multi-billion-dollar portfolio for the General Organization of Social Insurance. He currently serves in multiple committees in banking and asset management.

Abhinav Aggarwal
Abhinav Aggarwal

Abhinav Aggarwal

Partner, Deloitte 


Abhinav Aggarwal is a Partner with Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice in the Middle East with experience across Middle East, America, Africa, Europe and India. He has worked extensively with regulators and banks in the region on areas of Model risk management, Enterprise Risk Management, Credit Risk Management, Risk Governance, Compliance Risk Management, Policies & Procedures for Risk Management, Operational Risk Management Banking Supervision, IFRS 9 and System Implementations.

Abhinav Aggarwal

Partner, Deloitte

Ahmed Alsammari

COO, FAB Bank

Badr Mohamed

Field CTO EMEA, Oracle
Badr Mohamed

Badr Mohamed

Field CTO EMEA, Oracle


Badr Tharwat is a seasoned leader in the world of technology with almost 20 years of experience. As the EMEA Field Chief Technology Officer, Badr plays a crucial role in helping our clients develop their tech strategies and turn their big ideas into reality. Working with top tier EMEA enterprises to help them shape and then build their vision. Before this, Badr led the AI and Cloud Native Application Development team across EMEA. His organization worked closely with clients across the EMEA region to create advanced solutions on Oracle Cloud. They didn't just handle complex technology; His organization was the trusted partners in making their clients' projects a success, often introducing creative use cases of emerging technologies.

Badr is also passionate about how technology can change the world. He believes that cloud computing and artificial intelligence have the power to transform industries and how we live and he is working towards realizing that vision working closely with different large enterprises.

Badr holds an MBA in Management of Information Technology and has published several papers on the role of technology in telco and smart cities, he is a recognized public speaker, sharing his insights on AI and cloud computing.

Charanjeet Singh
Charanjeet Singh

Charanjeet Singh

Head-Cyber Fraud, Versatile Solution Limited


Charanjeet Singh, is a Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Information Security Manager and Certified Anti Money Laundering specialist with experience of over 26 years working in Middle East, India and East Africa. He has worked with First Abudhabi Bank, Mashreq, Barclays, ICICI Bank, Fullerton India & Tata group companies. He has setup fraud risk function at multiple organizations and has lead teams covering entire gamut of fraud risk including fraud risk framework, prevention, monitoring, vigilance and investigations. He has also served as Chair Person of Fraud Prevention Committee of UAE Bank’s Federation (UBF) and is in the Regional Management Committee of Association of Corporate Investigators (ACi)

He has been involved in projects with fintechs in UAE as well in setting up of Cyber Fraud Fusion centre in KSA as an Subject Matter Expert on fraud risk.

Charanjeet Singh

Head-Cyber Fraud, Versatile Solution Limited

Cristian Giacomini

Chairman & CEO, Mode Finance International 
Cristian Giacomini

Cristian Giacomini

Chairman & CEO, Mode Finance International


Dr. Cristian Giacomini – impact driven, serial entrepreneur with a focus on growth in MEA. After multiple years of cross-sector experience and having travelled to and worked with over 110 countries Dr Giacomini is now the Principal of his own family office: Giacomini Family Group.

The groups businesses range from AI driven fintech solutions in Europe, Asia and Africa to supporting project structuring and development in green energy, industrial and real estate from both private and public institutions.

He is acting executive positions in the principal companies related to its conglomerate, i.e. CEO at Modefinance International, a Modefinance Company (the first rating agency company in Europe), Deputy CEO at Toyo Europe, Toyo Machinery & Metal Co LTD company, a Japanese listed company in the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Dr. Giacomini holds a number of board roles and is a senior advisor to European and Middle Eastern companies operating in Transport, Green Energy and Real Estate.

He is also an active Member in some major European projects in infrastructure and across the financial sector. He was also a former visiting Professor at the University of Trieste, Italy.

Mohammed Wassim Khayata
Mohammed Wassim Khayata

Mohammed Wassim Khayata

Founder & CEO, Al Maryah Community Bank


Before starting his journey with Al Maryah Community Bank, Mr. Khayata spent 18 months in Berlin workingon transforming classical financial services into blockchain based disruptive solutions. His project involvedglobal technology experts and business leaders who collaborated on developing the concept of communitybanks on basis of the latest crypto based concepts.

During his 29 years in senior positions with leading banks and innovative financial institutions in the UAEsuch as National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Finance House and CAPMinvestment, he has delivered exceptional retail banking products like the first Credit Card in the UAE back in1994, and developed progressive and out of the box corporate banking solutions for diverse segments.

Mr. Khayata has very significant presence in the capital and equity markets. He has lead formation ofmultiple greenfield entities in financial sector and has managed multiple corporate transformations. He hasbeen in equity and IPO market for over 25 years, with special focus on IPO Advisory, IPO Management andparticipated in starting Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange. In most recent IPO for Fertiglobe, he handled all externalstakeholders and provided strategic, professional and operational guidance to Al Maryah Community bankteam. He ensured the vision of the first fully digital IPO is achieved and ensured great investor / customerexperience.

With strong footing in customer orientation, blended with focus on technology and blockchain, Mr. Khayatais now continuing his journey to make Al Maryah Community Bank a premier hub of innovation and prestige. Mr. Khayata holds Master’s degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Hull (UK), and is an Alumnaof Harvard Business School in Leadership Management.

Mohammed Wassim Khayata

Founder & CEO, Al Maryah Community Bank

Dr. Ehab Elsonbaty

Partner, DLA Piper
Dr. Ehab Elsonbaty

Dr. Ehab Elsonbaty

Partner, DLA Piper


Dr. Ehab Elsonbaty is a Partner in our New York Office and serves as Chair of the Middle East Initiative at DLA Piper. He advises DLA Piper’s inbound and outbound clients, including Middle Eastern clients doing business in the Americas or Americas clients seeking to do business in the Middle East. Ehab’s extensive transactional and regulatory experience with Middle Eastern government entities, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and both private and publicly traded companies enables him to provide efficient and effective legal support in a wide variety of business matters. His experience extends to jurisdictions such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Oman and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Humaied Almutfar

Kafala

Humaid U. Mudhaffr

Leader, Executive, Corporate Strategy, Data Management, Finance, and Technology
Humaid U. Mudhaffr

Humaid U. Mudhaffr

Leader, Executive, Corporate Strategy, Data Management, Finance, and Technology.


Holds 20+ years of experience in Operation Management and Technology leader, one of key member in establishing the first national credit bureau “SIMAH” in Saudi Arabia. In the Credit Bureau acquired credit information from almost 300 members of Banks, NBFI’s, Government agencies, Telecom, Auto Leasing, and SME’s. Standardized data submission at national level and achieved data quality of 99.9%.

Currently holding position of Chief Business Development, Studies, & Public Relationssince Jun 2023, where we have expanded Kafalah membership portfolio to reach 72 Financing Members and additional capital of 2 Billion.

Board and Executive Experience: 1- Founding Member of Saudi Credit Bureau SIMAH 2004
2- Member of GCC Credit Bureaus Committee 2012 – 2017
3- Board Member (founding member) of Qarar Consulting Co. 2013 - 2019
4- Board Member Global LEI Foundation “GLEIF” June 2020 – June 2022
5- Member ARAB CGS’s Committee Member, initiated in collaboration with Arab Monitory Fund (AMF)
6- Board members of Riyad Financing Fund II & III

Modhie Alshammary

MSME Country Manager, Riyad Bank
Nabil A. Issa

Nabel Issa

Managing Partner, King & Spalding


Nabil A. Issa is a partner in the Corporate, Finance and Investments Group of King & Spalding, working from Riyadh and the UAE offices. Mr. Issa's experience includes work in the areas of funds, joint ventures, foreign investment, private equity, Shari’ah-compliant structuring, regulatory, technology, venture capital, restructurings and real estate industry transactions. He is particularly known for his development of innovative funds and investment structures for real estate and private equity investments in Saudi Arabia.

Nabil is regularly cited by independent legal directories and client-based surveys. Chambers Global 2023 highly ranks Nabil for his corporate and investment funds work (Band 1) in the Middle East and recognizes him as an expert in Saudi corporate (Band 1) and capital market matters. Chambers Global, identifies Nabil as a “renowned M&A and investment funds practitioner who splits his time between Dubai and the firm's associated office in Riyadh”. Clients describe him as an "excellent business lawyer" and commend him for "his knowledge and understanding of the business environment in Dubai and Saudi", mentioning that this "makes him one of the most valuable mentors for business managers in the region".

Moreover, Nabil is listed as a “Leading Individual” for his corporate work in Saudi Arabia by Legal500 EMEA 2023. He was again recognized in 2023 by Asian Legal Business in its MENA Super 50 list for outstanding client service.

Nabil received his B.A. from UC San Diego and both his J.D. and a graduate certification in Middle East and Islamic Law from the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, Nabil was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to UAE University. Nabil is proficient in Arabic as well as being fluent in English.

Nabel Issa

Managing Partner, King & Spalding

Omar AlShamsi

CEO of Watermelon
Omar AlShamsi

Omar AlShamsi

CEO of Watermelon


Omar AlShamsi is a UAE national who has spent most of his career in the investment field. Omar graduated from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and a Masters of Law (LLM) from University of Dubai, he also holds a degree in Executive MBA from INSEAD with a focus on the digital world.

Omar established KPISOFT ( today Entomo.co) in the UAE and closed the largest deal for the company globally in their first year of operation. He has also consistently helped KPISOFT establish a solid footing in the GCC. Today some of their clients include 25 Dubai Government Entities (including the Dubai Digital Authority), the Ministry of Finance, and Al Dar Properties.

In July 2021, Omar moved from Entomo to establish Watermelon. A food and beverage ecosystem to help all entities within that value chain manage and advance their business. Watermelon is quickly establishing itself as a market leader and essential tool for anyone working within the FnB space. Today Watermelon has grown to become an instrumental part of the Food Security Initiatives of the UAE, and is the partner platform for the MInistry of Climate Change and Environment. Omar sits on the 6 member task force for the National Farm Sustainability Initiative of the Ministry which is tasked to improve the local circular economy of the food and beverage industry and Watermelon is playing a vital role in realizing that initiative.

Osahon Akpata
Osahon Akpata

Osahon Akpata

Head, SME & Partnerships ECO Bank


Osahon Akpata is Head, SME & Partnerships at Ecobank Nigeria where he is responsible for developing and executing the bank’s overall strategy for small and medium sized business with a focus on leveraging digital channels and partnerships for scale.

Prior to this role, he was Group Head, Consumer Payments at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, where he led the bank’s omni-channel retail payments business across its 33-country network across Africa, with full P&L responsibility, working with regional and country teams to achieve business objectives.

Prior to joining Ecobank, Osahon led the Implementation Practice at McKinsey & Company, developing and implementing successful strategies for executive leadership in very competitive industries across West Africa. Osahon began his career at Johnson & Johnson in the US where he had an award-winning sales career. His expertise lies in developing and executing successful strategies in transformations across large geographical regions and building value-added strategic partnerships.

Osahon holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, a BA (Hons.) in Accounting and Finance from Nottingham Trent University and a diploma in Strategic Partnerships from IMD Business School.

Osahon Akpata

Head, SME & Partnerships ECO Bank

Osama AlRae

CEO, Lendo
Osama AlRae

Osama AlRae

CEO, Lendo


Osama AlRae, CEO and co-founder of Lendo, is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in consulting and technology. He earned his bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems from King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals, before embarking on a career with leading firms like E&Y and Strategy& as a consultant. Further enhancing his expertise, Osama pursued an MBA from Duke University, which led to key roles at Amazon and McKinsey & Co. Prior to establishing Lendo, he was instrumental in driving innovation at the Misk Foundation, a Saudi non-profit dedicated to youth empowerment. His blend of international experience and a passion for financial technology innovation defines his journey in the fintech sector.

Qamar Saleem

Qamar Saleem

CEO, SME Finance Forum


QAMAR SALEEM is designated Head of SME Finance Forum working to expand access to finance for small and medium businesses globally. Prior to this role, Qamar Saleem was the Manager Financial Institutions Group Advisory Services for Asia and Pacific driving leading a large team across 20 countries aimed at providing integrated investment/advisory client solutions across mainly MSME, Gender, Climate, Digital, Housing, Trade, and Supply Chain Finance. Qamar has been with IFC since 2012 and served in his previous roles as global technical lead for SME and Supply Chain Finance as well as regional SME Banking lead for EMENA.

Qamar has 30+ years of global financial services experience having worked across 60+ countries internationally managing large business lines while leading multi-cultural and cross-functional teams. He is a recognized thought leader, featured speaker, and an industry mentor in SME Finance. Prior to joining IFC, Qamar was associated with international organizations like HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank as well as large regional banks while serving in several emerging markets where he also led SME Banking and Commercial Banking Divisions.

Qamar holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and carries several certifications in the areas of Strategy, Climate Finance, Digital Banking, Business Transformation, Social Impact, MSME Banking, Team Leadership, Supply Chain Finance, Credit, Risk, Trade, Sales Effectiveness, Transaction Banking and Project Implementation.

Qamar Saleem

CEO, SME Finance Forum

Rachel Salamani

Director Consulting, Deloitte
Rachel Salamani

Rachel Salamani

Director Consulting, Deloitte


Rachel is a Director in AI & Data practice within Deloitte’s Middle East firm. She has over 16 years of experience in AI and Data consulting projects in the Middle East mainly focused on AI & Data Strategy, Data Governance and Management and Data Transformations programs mainly in Financial Services and specifically in the banking sector.

Rachel has led many AI & Data strategies with banking clients helping them transform their business through Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence and unlock tremendous value. She has a rich experience in both consulting and leading banks in the region as well as working with Fintechs to drive innovation across the banking industry to unlock the power of data.

Rachel holds Masters degree in Computer and Communication Engineering and is a CIMP Ex Certified – Certified Information Management Professional – Expert Level.

Ramana Kumar
Ramana Kumar

Ramana Kumar

CEO Magnati


Ramana Kumar is the Chief Executive Officer of Magnati, which is the payments subsidiary of First Abu Dhabi Bank and Brookfield. Ramana has been instrumental in driving many strategic and innovative initiatives in payments space.Ramana has special interests around innovation/ fintech/ data and artificial intelligence / blockchain and the impact on the payments space.

He was the key driver in creating Magnatiwhich is carved out of FAB and turning into one of the most innovative and progressive payment solutions provider in the UAE. He led the company launch many “first in the market” initiatives including payments modernization, driving data driven business growth and monetizing data,cashless initiatives, financial inclusion, AI and Metaverse.

Magnati’s payment as a platform offers merchants and fintechs to come together on one platform providing substantial benefits to the ecosystem and fostering innovation and growth.

Mr. Kumar has always been one of the trendsetters in the region for innovation and challenging status quo. Magnati’stremendous success in the market is attributed to his leadership and passion for making a difference. Under his leadership and success this year, Magnati is geared up to be Middle East and Africa’s leading payments solution provider.

Ramana Kumar

CEO, Magnati
Rohit Arora
Rohit Arora

Rohit Arora

Co-Founder and CEO Biz2Credit


CEO of Biz2X and Biz2Credit, Rohit is one of America's top experts in small business lending and the use of FinTech to streamline the funding process. He was named New York City's “Top Entrepreneur” by Crain’s New York Business. He has met with top executives from the Federal Reserve and SBA and was invited to the White House by the President's Council of Economic Advisors to update economists on matters related to small business lending.

Rohit oversees the widely reported Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly report that analyses loan approval rates, as well as these annual reports:  1) Women-Owned Business Study, 2) Top 25 Cities for Small Business, 3) Latino-Owned Business Study, 4) Top Small Business Industries Report

  • Senior contributor for Forbes: weekly columns on Small Business Strategy
  • A frequent speaker at top industry events, including Money 20/20, American Banker Conferences, LendIt, AltFi, and Frontiers of Digital Finance, which Biz2Credit co-sponsors with Columbia University
  • Rohit is often quoted by The Wall St. Journal, CNBC, Fox Business, Washington Post, NY Times, Bloomberg, Fortune, American Banker, and others.

Rohit has his Keen interest and expertise in:

  • The impact of artificial intelligence and data in the finance industry
  • The intersection of technology and finance
  • How new data and technology are transforming credit decisions
  • The evolving landscape of banking: The role of digital lending and underwriting
  • Balancing risk and growth: The importance of deposits and lending in banking policy
  • The rise of fintechs and alternative capital: Opportunities for financial growth
  • Economic trends, forecasting, and data for small businesses
  • The effects of government policies on small business financing
  • Exploring efficient partnerships between Fintech and Financial Institutions for reaching underserved SMBs
  • Anticipating equity market disruption in 2023 and the transformative shifts in company financing.

Rohit Arora

Co-Founder and CEO, Biz2Credit

Sara Dannawi

Director, Consulting, Deloitte
Sara Dannawi

Sara Dannawi

Director, Consulting, Deloitte


Sara, as a Director at Deloitte & Touche (M.E.), possesses over 16 years of extensive experience in the Financial Services Industry, specializing in SMEs and freelancers throughout the Middle East. She has been instrumental in spearheading digital transformation initiatives.

Throughout her career, Sara has worked with multiple clients, translating their needs into clear business requirements, crafting detailed functional and technical documentation, developing integrations touch points and partnerships, optimizing and digitizing processes towards fully automated customer journeys, from the early stage of design and analysis to the build and launch, showcasing a unique blend of technical and functional acumen.

In fact, her strategic acumen revolves around multiple domains such as Business Process Re-engineering, Operating Model Design and System implementations (LOS, LMS, Trade Finance). Sara’s strategic insights are further highlighted in her proficiency and wealthy expertise in Corporate Governance, Risk Management, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) processes, demonstrating an unwavering commitment in establishing robust compliance frameworks that navigate the evolving regulatory landscape and which underscore her as a strategic leader in the financial sector, especially for SMEs and Freelancers market segments.

Yousef AlYousefi

CEO, Joa Capital

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