The UAE is one of the top trending regions for fintech in the Middle East, aside from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Newer companies are emerging, and funding is making its way through.
Fintech funding in H1 2021 represented the highest amount of funding raised by fintechs within six months. Of this, about two-thirds of the total MENA fintech funding went to just two countries – Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Both the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) – the UAE’s two key financial districts – remain active ecosystem enablers.
Apart from regulatory initiatives, both the DIFC and the ADGM are currently in the midst of top-tier fintech events. While the DIFC just wrapped up its Blockchain Week, the ADGM is towards the leg of its global startup roadshow The Search. The roadshow will conclude at its upcoming Fintech Abu Dhabi festival.
Elsewhere, other events such as Seamless Middle East and the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit, have just wrapped up.
For those of you that have missed out on these, there’s still a line-up of events to catch for the remainder of 2021. As we enter the last quarter of the year, here are the top 9 upcoming fintech events to attend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Fintech events to attend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
11th Annual Islamic Finance Conference 2021
13 October | Virtual
The virtual 11th Annual Islamic Finance Conference is organised by the DIFC in partnership with S&P Global Ratings. Taking place over Zoom across two sessions, the conference will look at Islamic finance trends in the GCC.
The agenda for the conference includes:
– Outlook for the Islamic finance industry in 2021 – 2022
– Impact of Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions Standard 59 on issuance of sukuks.
– Contribution of Islamic finance to sustainable development
– S&P Global Ratings’ outlook for the GCC sovereign, financial, corporate, and insurance ratings
Crypto Expo Dubai 2021
14 – 15 October | Festival Arena – Dubai Festival City
Crypto Expo Dubai 2021 spotlights about the world of blockchain and digital assets, and related investment strategies. Through talks and networking opportunities, the event brings together crypto experts and investors across the two-day event. Following the trade show format, it will have over 3000 traders in attendance, as well as an exhibition area.
The agenda features:
– The current trend in crypto investing and trading
– Regulation within the crypto industry
– Launching and investing in ICOs
– How stablecoins and NFTs are changing the world
Fintech Surge 2021
17 – 20 October | Dubai World Trade Centre
Spread across four days, Fintech Surge this year is taking place alongside the Future Blockchain Summit on blockchain and related financial products. It will also feature a Digital Banking Summit. Apart from this, it also features workshops and a fintech exhibition area, an Investors Programme, a blockchain hackathon and a startup pitch competition Supernova Challenge.
The Future Blockchain Summit will take place on Days 1, 2 and 4, while the Digital Banking Summit will take place on Day 3.
GCC Startup and SME Summit
20 October | Venue TBA (Dubai)
The GCC Startup and SME Summit by Datamatix will discuss entrepreneurship solutions and the growth of SMEs. The conference is aimed at supporting businesses, with insights from experts, investors and government officials. The conference will also be accepting ‘Presentation Papers’ and case study abstracts.
The paid event costs US$250 for a ticket. The agenda includes:
– Startup and SME strategies towards IPO post COVID-19
– SME and startup innovation and knowledge management
– The role of governments authorities and financial markets
IFN Middle East Forum 2021
31 October | Ritz Carlton DIFC/Virtual
The IFN Middle East Forum is an annual event on Islamic finance taking place since 2008. This year’s event will be following a hybrid format. It will also have an Oman edition, taking place on 26 October.
The agenda for this year’s event includes:
– Improving livelihoods and creating prosperity through the Islamic economy
– GCC Islamic corporate finance and capital markets
– Shariah-compliant green, transition and sustainability-linked finance and investment
– Operational issues in Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf
– GCC Islamic financial technology – digital assets, crowdfunding and digitisation
Middle East Investment Summit 2021
10 – 11 November | Ritz Carlton DIFC
Returning for its 22nd edition, the Middle East Investment Summit is a conference that brings together sovereign wealth funds, family offices, private and institutional investors, fund managers and economists.
Apart from a number of talks on asset allocation and investment strategies, the conference also makes room for speed networking, one-on-one meetings, and an after-hours networking party.
Topics on the agenda include:
– Assessing the effect of market growth on asset allocation
– Identifying investment strategies for the future economy
– Restoring faith in the GP/LP relationship
– Prioritising tech in diversified portfolios
– Evaluating decentralised currencies and understanding volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity in the asset class
17 – 18 November | Dubai World Trade Center
This year’s International Financial Expo, or IFINEXPO, is based on the theme of “connecting, making finance more efficient.” The event has previously taken place in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
Agenda items include:
– What services Dubai’s financial technology industry needs most
– The development and supervision of forex in China and the UAE
– Treating the documentary trading system objectively
– Integrating local advantages in customer service in the UAE foreign exchange market
Fintech Abu Dhabi
22 – 24 November | Al Maryah Island/Hybrid
The Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival is the flagship event of the ADGM. It features a Government Fintech Forum and an Investor Forum, Fintech Awards, and the Fintech100 programme as well. The Fintech100 programme is a culmination of The Search, presenting 100 globally scouted fintech companies.
The agenda at 5th edition of Fintech Abu Dhabi includes:
– Fintech for Good, a dedicated forum on the intersection of sustainability, fintech and innovation
– CxO21, a deep dive into corporate innovation and digital banking
– Token, which focuses on digital assets and currencies
– Risk 4.0, discussing expert perspectives on financial security
– Fintech Souk, a close look at developments in retail and payments
5th Annual Retail Banking Technologies MENA Summit
23 – 24 November 2021 | Dubai/Online
The Retail Banking Technologies MENA Summit discusses the role of technology in retail banking. It includes conversations on hyperpersonalisation, digital banking, embedded fintech, cryptocurrencies, sustainable banking and more. Attendees will get a chance to hear from and network with C-level banking experts.
Topics on the agenda include:
– Decentralised finance in banking
– How are banks responding to fintech apps’ success?
– Blockchain technologies in the future retail banking
– Why are retail banking services so attractive for cyber-criminals?
– ESG and sustainability in the banking industry