Technology is driving innovation for banks in the Middle-East and Africa (MEA)

In a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of Temenos, new technologies were considered to be the most impactful development in MEA retail banking.

Over 400 global banking executives were surveyed as part of the study, which seeks to learn about current and future trends (those that will have the biggest industry impact by 2025) in the global retail banking industry.

Temenos published a report specific to the MEA region, which provides valuable insight into the retail banking industry in the region.

Some of the key findings are outlined below.

Mastering digital engagement

According to the report, the biggest strategic priority for retail banks within the MEA region at the moment is to master digital marketing and engagement. The objective of which is to bring excluded customers into the banking sphere.

This is believed to remain a top priority in the medium term (by 2025), meaning that banks are aware that this is not a short-term objective, but one that should remain top of mind in the years to come.

Another key strategic priority for banks in the MEA region is improving their ability to launch new products, showing that innovation through product agility is key to the future of retail banks in the region.

Using AI

When asked what the most valuable use of AI will be for banks, 23% of all banks chose digital marketing.

This use of new technologies was a much higher priority for banks in the MEA region than the global market, where only 13% believed digital marketing was the most valuable use for technologies like AI.

These findings indicate that MEA retail banks believe investing in digital technologies to target and attract the un- and underbanked is crucial. Other popular uses were improving user experience, detecting fraud, and customer profiling to drive micro segmentation.

When asked about their innovation strategies, investment into fintech start-ups was tied for the most popular answer.

The 37% of MEA retail bankers who chose this answer dwarf the 15% who wanted to acquire existing fintechs companies, which is good news for innovation in the region.

The research also shows an overwhelming interest in building greenfield digital banks and fintech companies, which were options chosen by 37% and 29% of respondents respectively.

This shows a strong awareness that innovation is critical and a belief that building on top of existing systems is not sufficient – completely new innovations are preferred.

New technologies, including AI, machine learning, blockchain, IoT, and VAR were also considered to be the most impactful trends by 2025, which shows the region’s appetite to adopt advanced technologies in order to build next-generation solutions for customers.


The COVID-19 crisis has meant that almost all industries have had to make changes to their business models and strategies instantaneously.

Many experts have suggested that even after the crisis subsides, industries will be changed dramatically – the retail banking industry included.

Thankfully, it appears that retail banks in the MEA region are already aware of the need to innovate and embrace new technologies as we enter the new normal.

While the global coronavirus pandemic is challenging society in unimaginable ways, it brings with it an opportunity for banks to embrace new digital technologies and innovate in order to better the lives of their customers and support the global economy.

Temenos has the solutions to support banks to achieve end-to-end digital transformation and succeed in the new normal. Temenos is a global partner to financial institutions of all sizes, in all geographies.

Over 3,000 banks in more than 150 countries rely on Temenos. They benefit from game changing cloud-native, cloud-agnostic technology and rich localized functionality. Their solutions are also API-first and driven by Explainable AI.

Temenos’ customers are the highest performers in the industry.

Temenos software is proven to help its top-performing clients to achieve industry-leading cost-income rations of 26.8% – twice the industry average – and returns of equity of 29% – three times better than the industry average.