CFTE’s Forum: Empowering Professionals for the Fintech Future

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The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) recently hosted an influential gathering of executives and thought leaders from across the EMEA and APAC regions. The event brought together representatives from government entities, central banks, financial institutions, technology firms, venture capital, and startups to drive discussions and collaboration around key topics in fintech, digital banking, AI, data analytics, financial education and inclusion.

The impressive roster of attendees demonstrates CFTE’s commitment to fostering dialogue and innovation in the rapidly evolving world of finance and technology. As a global education platform, CFTE empowers professionals to start and advance their careers in fintech through industry-recognized online courses and certifications.

About CFTE: Leading Fintech Education for Professionals

The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is at the forefront of fintech education, offering cutting-edge courses in domains such as Open Banking, Payments, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Digital Assets. With expert instructors from leading companies like Mastercard, UBS, Societe Generale, IBM, and Google Cloud, CFTE provides learners with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the era of Finance 2.0.

CFTE’s mission is to help professionals future-proof their careers and drive innovation in the face of technological disruption. As next-gen technological advancements disrupt traditional finance roles, CFTE equips learners with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the era of Finance 2.0. The courses offered reflect the latest industry trends and megatrends, including machine learning, APIs, and big data.

Whether you’re looking to rapidly advance your career, lead digital transformation projects, or launch your own fintech venture, CFTE’s practical, real-world focused education will help you achieve your goals. CFTE brings exclusive insights from leaders steering the future of finance, from global CEOs to disruptive entrepreneurs. Learners gain not just theoretical knowledge but also grasp real-world applications to immediately apply their new skills in the workplace.

By joining CFTE’s global community of finance professionals, learners benefit from the experience of studying alongside peers from leading banks, fintechs, and technology companies. With flexible, online programs that fit your schedule, you can future-proof your career and position yourself for success in the digital finance revolution.

Bridging the Skills Gap at Country Level Roundtable

As part of the Future Skills Forum, CFTE hosted a roundtable discussion titled “Bridging the Skills Gap at Country Level,” chaired by Dr. Allen Baby MBA, PhD, M.IOD, Acting Chief Learning Officer at the Emirates Institute of Finance (EIF). The roundtable focused on the challenge of reskilling adults in the face of rapid technological transformation, which presents both opportunities and challenges for nations seeking to accelerate development through a highly skilled workforce.

Key topics of discussion included defining national skills gaps, identifying crucial stakeholders, and exchanging best practices in talent development. The roundtable brought together esteemed discussants from various organizations:

Agnès Bastaert, Head of Government Affairs, EMEA, Ant Group

Dr. Amira Abdelaziz, Senior Advisor – Data & Advanced Analytics, Central Bank of Egypt

Ingrid Naranjo, Geopolitical Strategist, Labiana Health

Iqbal Noor, SVP & Group Head L&D, ENBD

John Rwangombwa, Governor, National Bank of Rwanda

Khaled El Bialy, Chief Executive Officer, Banque Misr

Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp, Assistant Vice President, DIFC Academy

Nadeem Mujtaba, CEO, Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMA Pakistan)

S. Magagula, Deputy Director – Talent Management, Central Bank of Eswatini

Sultan Khalifa Al Ali, EVP & Head HR, RAKBANK

Victor Yim, Head of Fintech, Cyberport Hong Kong

Yasin Bhatti, Senior Director – Outreach & Partnership, ADGM Academy

The diverse perspectives and insights shared by the roundtable participants underscore the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in addressing the skills gap challenge at a national level. By bringing together key stakeholders from government, academia, and industry, CFTE is helping to drive the conversation and action needed to prepare workforces for the future of finance and technology.

The Role of Central Banks and Regulators in Upskilling Roundtable

CFTE also hosted a roundtable titled “The Role of Central Banks and Regulators in Upskilling,” chaired by Nouran Youssef, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at the Arab Monetary Fund. The roundtable explored how the evolving industry landscape is driving a shift in skill requirements and examined the potential risks and opportunities this presents from the perspectives of central banks and regulators.

The roundtable brought together a distinguished group of discussants:

Christian K., Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, DIFC

Fatima Abukar, Data, Algorithms and AI Ethics Lead, FCA UK

Julia Cillikova, Executive Director, Central Bank of Slovakia

Michael O’Loughlin ☘️, Founder, OLOUGHLIN Global Business Advisory

Mike G., Chief Executive Officer, Guardtime

Paul Kayrouz, Chief Fintech Officer, Central Bank of The UAE (CBUAE)

Peter Faykiss, Director, Digitalisation Directorate, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB)

Rajkumar Kanagasingam, Founder, Fintech Association of Sri Lanka(FASL)

Dr. Rasha Negm, Assistant Sub-Governor Fintech & Innovation, Central Bank of Egypt

Takeshi Kito, Co-Founder & CEO, ELEVANDI Japan

Thammarak Moenjak, Chief Representative London Office, Bank of Thailand

Participants had the opportunity to learn about the most effective practices for central banks and regulators to support and enhance workforce skills in response to technological advancements.

Future Skills in an AI World Roundtable

Another roundtable, “Future Skills in an AI World,” was chaired by Imane Elmajdoubi, Director of Financial Services Industry – UAE at Microsoft. This session focused on the hurdles individuals face when adapting to new professional demands in the face of technological transformation, exploring skill requirements and strategies for effective adaptation.

The roundtable featured an impressive lineup of discussants:

Ali Khan, Head of Data and Artificial Intelligence, Commercial Bank of Dubai

Amith Rajan, EVP, Head Wholesale Digital Banking & CEO NeoVentures, Mashreq

Arushi Goel, Policy Lead, Chainalysis

James Chouffot, Partner, EY

Kelly Forbes, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Institute

Ken Coghill, Head of Innovation, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

Mahmoud AbuEbeid, CEO and Co-Founder, Global Software Solutions

Dr. Merouane Debbah, Senior Scientific AI Advisor, Technology Innovation Institute

Phil Watson, Former Chief Innovation Officer for Citi and Wealth expert

Rima Semaan, Data & AI UAE Lead, Microsoft

Dr. Rudeon Snell, Group Chief Operating Officer, Sirius International Holding

Shashank S., Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

Participants explored alternative methods for maintaining relevancy in one’s career amidst the rise of AI and other emerging technologies.

Creating the Workforce of Tomorrow Roundtable

The “Creating the Workforce of Tomorrow” roundtable, chaired by Arun Mehta, Head of Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), focused on identifying the key characteristics of a future-proof workforce and discussing how these traits have evolved over the past decade.

The roundtable featured a stellar group of discussants:

Amany M. Atran, Head of L&D – CAFU

Bart P., Chief Data and AI, HSBC

Carl Manlan, Vice President, Visa EMEA

Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director of Research Engagement, MBZUAI (Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence)

Dr. Ljubica Tomic, Head of Employability, Alumni and Industry Partnership, The American University in the Emirates (AUE)

Fariha Salahuddin (She/ Her), Founder,

Jacqueline Whitehead, Head of Learning and Development, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

Kamran Ahsan, Senior Director, e& enterprise

Martinette Van Vuuren, Group HR Director, Sirius International Holding

Paul Hunter, Head of AI and Consumer Analytics, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Prashan Agarwal, Founder, FanTV

Sharif El-Badawi, CEO, Dubai Future District Fund

Participants explored various strategies for creating a highly competitive workforce, including upskilling, reskilling, incorporating new hires, and outsourcing.

Women Leadership in a Tech World Roundtable

CFTE co-founder Tram Anh Nguyen chaired the “Women Leadership in a Tech World” roundtable, focusing on the challenges and opportunities the tech-driven shift presents and examining how gender dynamics are influenced by advancements in AI.

The roundtable featured an outstanding group of discussants:

Klaus Miserra, Managing Director, Grow.ME

Latifa Saleh AlShehhi, Head of Data UAE Women in AI

Lilian Poilpot, Partner, Erevena

Maisoun Selim, Senior Director – People Business Partner NALP, Visa

Melissa Guzy, Managing Partner and Founder, Arbor Ventures

Muna Al Zaabi, Assistant Director- Fintech Innovation, Central Bank of The UAE

Olga Miler, Co-Founder & CEO, SmartPurse – Financial Education Platform

Reem AlMusabbah, Serial Tech Entrepreneur Ecosystem Builder Women in AI

Sarah Abuagela, Head of Investments, Ceras Ventures

Shafique R Ibrahim, Founder, FXB Payment Summit

Shradha Chopra, Founder & Lead Coach, 237 Ventures

Vladimira Briestenska, Founder, Neem

Yasmin Al Enazi, United Arab Emirates Ambassador Women in AI

Participants explored whether the integration of AI in the workplace poses further challenges for women in leadership roles or opens new opportunities for their advancement.

Skills for Fast Growing Startups Roundtable

The final roundtable, “Skills for Fast Growing Startups,” was chaired by Nameer Khan, Chairman of MENA FINTECH ASSOCIATION and Founder of Fils, and Luke Eley, Co-Founder of cander. This session explored successful strategies and shared lessons learned in talent development, aiming to provide actionable recommendations for stakeholders engaged in nurturing startup ecosystems.

The roundtable featured an esteemed group of discussants:

Danyaal Z. Abdul-Khaliq, Director of Innovation, e& enterprise

Gaurav Sachddeva, Co-Founder & CEO, The Founders Majlis

Maryam AlMansoori, General Manager, Rebound Plastic

Nida Sumar, CFA, Founder & CEO, 60 Day Startups

Dr. Nousheen Zakaria (Ph.D), Co-Founder & MENA region Head, Weddified

Omair Ansari, Chief Executive Officer, Abhi (YC S21)

Rishabh Singh, VP of Products, Astra Tech

Sagarika Sahoo, Director – Middle East, Indian Investors Federation

Saqr Ereiqat, CEO, TDMM | TradeDog Market Manager

Sophie GUIBAUD, Co-Founder, Fiat Republic

Yana Leonova, PhD, MBA, Director of the Dubai Chapter, VNTR Capital

Participants delved into the main gaps in skills that startups encounter and how these impact their growth and innovation potential.


The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE)‘s recent Future Skills Forum brought together an impressive array of executives, thought leaders, and experts from across the global finance and technology landscape. The event provided a platform for critical discussions on bridging the skills gap and preparing workforces for the future in the face of rapid technological transformation.

Through a series of roundtable discussions, participants explored key themes such as the importance of collaboration between government, academia, and industry in addressing skills gaps; the need for continuous upskilling in the face of AI and emerging technologies; strategies for creating future-proof workforces; challenges and opportunities for women in leadership roles in the tech-driven world; and the crucial role of talent development in nurturing startup ecosystems.

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As a leading provider of online fintech education and training, CFTE is at the forefront of empowering professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the era of Finance 2.0. By fostering dialogue and knowledge-sharing among influential stakeholders, CFTE is driving the conversation and action needed to future-proof the global finance and technology workforce.

For professionals looking to stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving world of finance and technology, CFTE‘s cutting-edge courses and certifications offer a valuable opportunity to learn from industry experts and gain practical, real-world knowledge. With a commitment to delivering high-quality, accessible, and industry-relevant education, CFTE is helping to shape the future of finance and technology.

To learn more about CFTE‘s offerings and start your journey towards a successful career in fintech, visit today and explore the wide range of courses and certifications designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge you need to thrive in the digital finance revolution.

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Pavel Afonin
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