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Dubai aims to ride on fintech to drive financial sector growth

Dubai aims to ride on fintech to drive financial sector growth
26 Jan 2024 09:11


Dubai’s long-term strategy for fintechs is paying off as the region’s financial powerhouse plans to attract more players with the right regulations and governance structures.

In an exclusive session organised by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) that Aletihad was invited to attend, regulators, telecoms majors, bankers and fintech startups gathered to discuss and find solutions to some of the issues facing the industry.

Mohammad Alblooshi, CEO, DIFC Innovation Hub, said it is important that the industry works together to find the right balance for the growth of the sector.

The UAE is the financial hub of the region and has global ambitions in the fintech space. Next generation financial companies driven by technology like AI will fuel its growth.

To speed up the process to better align good governance with sound and sensible regulations which, incidentally, were the buzzwords at the meeting, the city plans to host the second Dubai Fintech Summit in May.

Alblooshi was optimistic that fintech stakeholders, technology companies, financial institutions, and telecoms majors would work in harmony with Dubai’s regulators and arrive at a transparent system that promotes financial inclusivity.

“Dubai promises so much… last year we did a good job, but we have only scratched the surface. We believe we can do much when we come together from the banking industry, fintech community, the regulators, and others,” he said.

The UAE’s and Dubai’s fintech system is evolving, said business leaders as it keeps pace with challenges after the pandemic. Meanwhile, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the emirate’s independent financial services regulator, is striving to provide firms with a level-playing field.

The DFSA’s record on the regulatory front is for all to see. The region’s leading regulator said it had licenced and registered117 firms in 2023, a new record and an increase of 25% over the previous year.

“The remarkable achievements of 2023 are a testament to our dedication to not only regulate the present but to also shape and govern the future. Our aim is to become a global benchmark as an international regulatory body, delivering excellence in tandem with the government’s strategic vision – including Dubai Economic Agenda D33,’’ said Fadel Al Ali, Chairman of the regulatory authority.

According to some estimates, investments in Dubai’s fintech sector are projected to grow by 17.2% CAGR to $949 billion by 2030. Fintechs are part of the UAE’s Digital Economy strategy that is set to increase the sector’s GDP by 20% over the next decade from 9.7%.

Last year, fintech companies topped over 600 companies, and Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC, said the plan is to “leverage cutting edge technology and attract high-skilled talent” to reach this goal.

There’s need for more funding in the sector with the surge in digital payments, digital investments, digital capital raising, digital assets and neo-banking. Mobile payments and super apps are gaining traction and smarter and simpler solutions are key to securing transactions.

Emirati serial entrepreneur Abdallah Abu Sheikh and owner of Astra Tech, went a step further to say that smarter fintech solutions are “simpler than one thinks and often stem from stupidity”.

He emphasised the importance of making it easier for ordinary users. Sheikh’s company, which owns the Botim voice calling app, has plans for an ultra app an all in one solution that encompasses everything from messaging, calling, transacting and dealing in investments.

Source: Aletihad - Abu Dhabi
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