Middle East & Africa Regtech Trending

MENA Fintech Association Develops MEA Fintech Regulations With Policy & Regulations Working Group

The MENA Fintech Association (MFTA), the not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fostering fintech innovation across the Middle East and Africa, has announced the establishment of its Policy & Regulations Working Group. 

The newly established Policy and Regulations Working Group assumes a pivotal role in facilitating collaboration. This is especially the case among think tanks, legal experts, fintechs, financial institutions, and regulatory authorities operating within the Middle East and Africa region.

This group aims to stimulate discussions with the overarching objective of fostering an environment that harmonises innovation with the highest standards of security for all stakeholders. Ultimately, this will benefit the entire region.

The Policy and Regulations Working Group aims
  • Work together with the private sector and regulatory authorities to address various issues under the existing legal and regulatory frameworks relevant to fintech, in advancing more conducive regulatory environments to assist in the development of the various FinTech sub-verticals.
  • Promote the exchange of knowledge, best practices, challenges, and policy ideas with regional authorities.
  • Organise dialogues, panel discussions and produce industry essential white papers.
  • Inspire think tank leaders to cultivate innovative policy solutions that unlock opportunities and creatively address the challenges faced by fintechs, financial institutions, and their end users, whether individuals or businesses.
  • Foster the professional growth and leadership development of think tank leaders.
  • Set the gold standard for transparency in newly issued policies and regulations.
  • Contribute to regulator calls for contribution.
  • Cultivate ideas and strategies to nurture an environment that promotes innovation, top-tier security, anti-money laundering efforts, and a dynamic fintech ecosystem.

Nameer Khan, chairman of the MENA Fintech Association, expressed his enthusiasm for the establishment of the Policy & Regulations Working Group, stating: “The MENA Fintech Association has consistently served as a bridge between fintechs, financial entities, and regulatory bodies across the region, including central banks, licensing authorities, ministries, and trade offices.

“The creation of a Policy and Regulations Working Group is a natural progression as we onboard more regtech and legal firms seeking a platform for engagement, idea sharing, and collaborative endeavors to advance the MENA fintech and banking landscape.”

Through the Policy & Regulations Working Group, the MENA Fintech Association is committed to serving as a prominent and influential body in shaping the development of fintech regulations across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Expanding a top fintech body’s team

Established in 2018, MFTA has championed innovation and encouraged collaboration within the MENA fintech industry. As a result, it is now considered one of the world’s top four fintech bodies. The Policy and Regulations Working Group will further build upon this, spearheaded by Samir Safar-Aly as chair.

Samir Safar-Aly brings a wealth of legal and regulatory experience and expertise of over 11 years in the Middle East at leading international law firms. Specifically, he has focused on financial regulation, financial crime and fintech.

He is currently Baker McKenzie’s financial regulatory, compliance and investigations counsel based in Dubai. This is in addition to being the firm’s MENA fintech and AI lead. As an English-qualified lawyer registered with the Government of Dubai legal affairs department, Samir has advised a number of FinTech actors. This is largely helped by his qualifications in both law (UC Berkeley), coding (MIT, King’s College London, and currently with Harvard), and AI (Panthéon-Assas).

Some of the fintech projects he has advised on include:

  • global and regional virtual asset service providers
  • payment services
  • robo-advisories
  • crowdfunding platforms
  • tokenisation projects
  • buy now pay later (BNPL)
  • AI application within financial services and AI ethics
  • DAOs
  • NFTs
  • Web3 governance issues
  • cybersecurity
  • data protection issues.
The next venture

He has mentored a number of start-ups (including within accelerator programs such as the DIFC Innovation Hub – where he is an official mentor – and Hub71). This is in addition to BigTech, VC and PE funds, angel investors, as well as financial institutions.

Safar-Aly has  has played a leading role in many key government advisory projects in the areas of legal and regulatory reform and strategy, including on a number of national economic blueprint plans. His expertise includes sanctions and AML investigations, with training from the U.S. Department of Justice, and the City of London Police Economic & Cyber Crimes Academy. He has previously worked in London, Beijing, Tokyo, Cairo, Riyadh, and Nairobi.


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