Bill Gates among star speakers at Singapore's biggest fintech festival

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (left), Google chief executive Sundar Pichai (top right) and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardernare slated to speak at the event. PHOTOS: BLOOMBERG, AFP, REUTERS PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/ BILL GATES, AFP, REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore's biggest fintech festival and innovation week kicks off on Monday (Dec 7) with a star-line up of speakers, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, will open the Singapore FinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SFF x Switch 2020) by speaking on the state of the economy.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's festival will largely be held online from Monday till Friday.

Events will happen round the clock and participants can visit technology exhibitions, attend masterclasses by fintech and deep tech experts, as well as network with private equity and investment firms from around the world, said a joint statement from organisers Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Enterprise Singapore.

There will also be live sessions with climate scientists in the polar regions, the Amazon forest and the Himalayas.

About 1,400 speakers are slated to speak, among them finance and technology leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers, including

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, the International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva and Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.

In addition to the online sessions, there will be satellite events held in cities around the world from Kampala in Uganda to New York and Shenzhen, where people will be able to visit technology showcases, among other things.

In all, the festival will feature more than 600 sessions, 1,000 exhibitors, and 27 international pavilions.

The organisers said more than 60,000 participants from over 7,000 companies across 130 countries are expected.

MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said: "We are proud to have built an online event platform that continues to serve as a meeting point for the global fintech community and a hive for business activity when the industry needs it the most."

Enterprise Singapore assistant chief executive for innovation and enterprise Edwin Chow said: "Despite the pandemic, we are confident this event will connect and catalyse new partnerships between innovation enablers, enterprises and start-ups from Singapore and the rest of the world."

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