UAE is an ideal hub for fintech


UAE is an ideal hub for fintech
The UAE's innovation friendly ecosystem is ready for fintech.

Dubai - Fintech Abu Dhabi gets overwhelming response.


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Oct 2019, 12:43 AM

So what is it that attracts global fintech players to the UAE? Why is everyone keen to have their share of pie of this growing robust sector? the answer to these and many more such questions is simple, 'innovation and growth' which has brought down the global players to the desert to explore opportunities that the sector offers.
The UAE's fintech startups are going to benefit immensely as the sector has received strong support from the government as well as onset of Expo2020 Dubai will be a catalyst to propel further growth. The bullish factors are further affirmed as the 3-day event Fintech Abu Dhabi gets overwhelming response. The event is reported to be attended by 5,000 delegates, 2,000 plus startups, scale-ups and SMEs, 75 exhibitors from 50 countries and 100 speakers.

Wai Lum Kwok, senior executive director (capital markets), Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), said ADGM is committed to enable the growth and development of the fintech and financial services sector in a well-regulated, innovative and inclusive marketplace. 
"Since becoming fully operational in October 2015, we at ADGM, realised the potential of innovative technology to vastly transform financial services. As such, we committed ourselves to being a technology-first regulator proactive in fostering safe fintech adoption, creating a vibrant ecosystem to support incubation, acceleration, adoption and deployment."
To support fintech adoption and deployment, ADGM created the Regulatory Laboratory (or RegLab) programme. The very first Regulatory Sandbox regime in the Middle East and Africa has received 83 applications over 4 cohorts, and selected 32 fintech firms to work with. The first batch of participants graduated - Now Money and Pyyple - from the programme this quarter.
On the financing and investment side, ADGM has been at the centre of some extremely exciting announcements. The most recent was the establishment of Hub71 in ADGM. Hub71 is a global tech hub founded by Mubadala, in partnership with SoftBank and Microsoft. 
ADGM has also partnered with global leaders in innovation spaces such as Plug and Play, the world's biggest accelerator and most active venture capital fund, which has its Middle East and Africa headquarters set up in ADGM since 2017.
"Our ambition is to transform FinTech Abu Dhabi into a global initiative, actively engaging startups and innovators from around the world to come to Abu Dhabi. We welcome all market participants who are keen on fintech and financial services to register and join us at FinTech Abu Dhabi too," added Kwok.
The FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival witnessed announcement of Gulf Fintech Yatra and signing of India GCC Fintech bridge with ADGM and Finablr. Popularly known as 'cashless man of India', Abhishant Pant, Founder, The Fintech Meetup, is in the UAE to plan and under take his Gulf Fintech Yatra, which will involve road travel of more then 3,000km covering Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE. The team will meet-up with fintech startups, financial institutions and regulators to understand and appreciate the challenges and opportunities the landscape offers.
The Gulf Fintech Yatra is scheduled from January 1, 2020 to January 26, 2020. "The UAE by far is one of the most innovation friendly ecosystem and with large digital native population which is also fintech ready. The yatra team is currently collaborating with Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) to explore and build the fintech ecosystem deeper," Pant said.
The UAE fintech ecosystem is buzzing with activity and is fast evolving Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) ecosystem, the one that is digitally ready for next journey. It will be important that they are nurtured rightfully by key financial players like ADGM, Finablr and banks, points out Pant, who is ranked among the top 100 Fintech professionals in Asia and runs India's largest fintech accelerator and an angel investment fund for early stage startups.
"Our collaboration with ADGM and Finablr will go a long way in advancing the fintech ecosystem by fostering entrepreneurship and talent across the GCC and India," said Pant.
Promoth Manghat, Group CEO of Finablr, said: "We are proud to be a founding partner of the Gulf Fintech Yatra. As one of the most mature and advanced digital economies, there is a real opportunity for Fintech Yatra to use the GCC as a gateway to tap the potential of the fintech ecosystem in the broader Middle East and Africa region." 
Ultimately, he said the strength of the ecosystem linkage - be it access to skills, funding, corporate tie-ups, accelerator and incubator partnerships - is critical to create a conducive environment for fintechs to thrive and flourish. 
"Through the India-GCC Fintech Bridge, we seek to strengthen the ecosystem in the two hubs by enabling startups to take advantage of mutual opportunities and leverage complementary strengths. Our collaboration with ADGM and Fintech Yatra will go a long way in advancing the fintech ecosystem by fostering entrepreneurship and talent across the GCC and India."
Nameer Khan, chairman, Mena Fintech Association, said the UAE's fintech sector will see some phenomenal shifts in the banking, finance and insurance sector which will pave way for immense innovation. "The conventional players will have to adapt to the fiercely competitive market trends which call for new strategies of growth." -

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