Author: Fintechnews Middle East

The fintech sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is flourishing driven by the large pool of financially underserved individuals and businesses, and a thriving e-commerce sector, according to a report by the Wamda Research Lab and Payfort. In the last three years, the number of fintech ventures in MENA doubled from 46 to 105. While these startups span 12 countries, over 70% of these startups are based in four countries. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are the region’s most advanced startup ecosystems and the region’s rising fintech hubs, aided by government support,…

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is poised to become a fintech nexus in the Middle East, aided by government agencies and regulators working together to turn the country into a global fintech powerhouse, according to a new report. These are driving a range of initiatives aimed at fostering a burgeoning fintech ecosystem with examples that include the RegLab launched by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to allow financial institutions and new entrants to develop and test their fintech proposition, the Fintech Hive, a fintech accelerator program by the Dubai International Financial Centre, and 2020 blockchain ambition in Dubai, which…

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Singapore-based startup Sky Magic delivered a visual spectacle for Qatar’s 46th National Day Week celebrations at Katara Cultural Village in Qatar, in the form of a drone show featuring a 300-strong fleet. This was the first time a live drone show had been performed in Qatar. The celebrations kicked off with a series of drone formations showcasing symbolic images of Qatar, accompanied by traditional Arabic music. The formations began with a giant heart with the word “Qatar” in Arabic, which morphed into a giant outline of Qatar. These were followed by an image of an Oryx, the national animal of Qatar,…

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Bahrain FinTech Bay has announced a partnership with Bahrain Development Bank and its Rowad Program. Bahrain Development Bank will be a founding partner of BFB and will work closely with the BFB to deliver certain initiatives supporting Fintech entrepreneurship, through its Rowad Platform which includes the Rowad Program, SeedFuel-Rowad, and the Invested Platform. This will provide entrepreneur support programs, access to the BFB for the Seed Fuel program for qualified Fintech companies of up to BHD 25,000 in equity investment, and the ability access the investor platform Invested™. In addition to creating this direct affiliation between Rowad Platform and BFB,…

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The Central Bank of Bahrain  has announced a partnership officially endorsing the launch of Bahrain FinTech Bay and its Fintech initiatives in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The announcement is the most recent in a series of steps affirming the CBB’s commitment to developing Bahrain into a leader of Fintech innovation and investment in the GCC region. The CBB and its recently announced FinTech & Innovation Unit will work closely with the BFB to support the development of the Bahrain Fintech ecosystem and ensure the participation of financial institutions seeking to innovate and invest in Fintech. In addition, the CBB will…

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the supervision of cross-border operations of banking institutions. The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the annual Abu Dhabi Singapore Joint Forum (ADSJF) in Abu Dhabi today. MAS and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM share a common objective to develop sound and robust financial markets and financial ecosystems. This agreement will build on their existing cooperation framework to cover the full spectrum of banks, financial markets and FinTech-related activities. Mr. Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing…

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The Dubai Financial Services Authority (‘DFSA’) and ASIC today signed a Cooperation Agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation in each jurisdiction. The DFSA regulates the Dubai International Financial Centre (‘DIFC’). Dubai has recently set up a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging fintech innovation, including the ‘FinTech Hive’ accelerator program, and the Dubai Future Accelerators, which involves an intensive nine-week programme pairing technology companies with government organisations to create transformational solutions. The DFSA allows firms to apply for a restricted class of financial services licences. Successful applicants for the DFSA’s ‘Innovation Testing Licence’ are able…

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The Bahrain Economic Development Board (“EDB”) and FinTech Consortium (“FTC”) announced today the launch of “Bahrain FinTech Bay” (“BFB”), the largest dedicated FinTech hub in the Middle East and Africa. The new hub aims to further the development and acceleration of Fintech firms as well as the interaction between investors, entrepreneurs, government bodies and financial institutions. BFB, with an area of over 10,000 square feet of usable space, is located in the Arcapita building overlooking the waters of Bahrain Bay and the Arabian Gulf. Scheduled to open in February 2018, it will comprise state of the art facilities, co-working spaces,…

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The Middle East is often praised for being a fertile ground for fintech businesses to grow and flourish for a wide spectrum of reasons, including the large population of unbanked, the several startup accelerators available in the region, and supportive governments. The region has already seen a number of fintech success stories, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where incubators, enterprise development funds and programs, and innovation hubs are supporting the creation and growth of local entrepreneurs. While Kuwait has a relatively small fintech ecosystem compared to the likes of the UAE, the country has seen its digital economy…

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The inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi concluded last week with several key and game-changing initiatives that have raised the bar on the offerings and infrastructure of the FinTech industry. The two-day event, which was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, was attended by over 600 delegates including senior government officials, representations from UAE-based embassies and international FinTech leaders and technopreneurs. At FinTech Abu Dhabi, ADGM made a number of ground-breaking announcements including:- (i)   The launch of the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre by 2018 – a physical hub at ADGM Square on…

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Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are opening up to fintech and digital solutions as banks seek to enhance consumer experience and streamline their operations. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as one of the region’s pioneers in the field. In particular, fintech development has been pushed by the government’s broader desire to transform the country into a leader in the digital space and the digital economy, a new area of focus it hopes will help it reduce its dependency on oil. Citizens too have helped led the Middle East’s digitalization change. As measured by McKinsey‘s digital consumer…

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the Dubai government in particular, are home to a nascent fintech sector, driven by the government’s ambition to position itself as a center for innovation. “A lot of effort has been made … to establish a landscape in the UAE that supports fintech and generally encourages tech startups and innovation,” has said Paul Allen, head of intellectual property and technology, Middle East, at law firm DLA Piper in Dubai. “We’re now starting to see those efforts bear fruit.” Now with the UAE fintech ecosystem thriving, numerous fintech events and conferences are being organized in the country,…

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The Astana International Financial Centre, or AIFC, and next generation investment company EXANTE have signed a memorandum of cooperation towards developing the cryptocurrency markets in Kazakhstan and positioning the AIFC as an international financial technology center. According to the memorandum, EXANTE, with several blockchain projects already in its portfolio, will launch the Stasis platform, which will serve as the foundation for new crypto assets, secured by fiat. The parties also agreed to cooperate in developing AIFC’s regulation of the cryptocurrency markets, and to support the evolution of the fintech-ecosystem in Astana using EXANTE’s knowledge and experience in blockchain projects. Kairat…

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Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, is gearing up for its inaugural global FinTech Abu Dhabi event which will be taking place in just ten more days on 22 to 23 October 2017. The FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit is a two-day by-invitation-only event that encompasses a high-level regulators’ roundtable, a global Innovation Challenge Demo Day represented by an international fleet of mature FinTech firms, ADGM’s first batch of RegLab FinTech startups, and an exciting Summit featuring distinguished local, regional and international leaders from the global FinTech industry. FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit, under the patronage…

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AAbu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, announced that it had received 166 applications from over 39 countries for its inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge. The impressive global participation was achieved in under two weeks of outreach activities coordinated by both ADGM and KPMG. All applicants have proposed game-changing innovations that address real-life business issues which affect the financial services industry in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. They have also included solutions that cover a range of concepts including Financial and Investment Management, Financial Inclusion, RegTech, Trade Finance, InsurTech and…

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Fintech is gaining steam in Iran as the country’s central bank, financial institutions and government agencies are taking steps to make Tehran a regional hub for financial innovation. This comes as part of the Iran Vision 2025, which seeks to turn Iran into a developed country by 2025, as well as “the first economic, scientific and technological power of the region.” As part of the plan, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has proposed its 2025 Roadmap which aims for the development of a strong future for the banking system. The roadmap is set to define an appropriate role for fintech companies…

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While places like the US, the UK and China have long been leaders in digital finance, new fintech companies are starting to pop up in unexpected locations such as Poland, Slovakia, as well as the Middle East, underscoring fintech’s global diversity. One of these places is Qatar, where Omar Mahmood, partner and head of financial services at KPMG in Qatar, said there’s been a significant push to promote the country as a regional fintech hub. “Qatar offers the right regulatory environment, extremely competitive operating costs, government support, funding support and a ready financial services sector to work with,”he said. he said. “We…

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