The Arab Monetary Fund has recently launched the Index of Modern Financial Technologies in the Arab Countries (FinxAr) in an effort to promote the region’s fintech industry and digital financial transformation, with the ultimate goal of enhancing inclusivity, financial stability, and sustainable development.
The General Index (GX), which offers an alternative solution to traditional PRA commodity publishing through the combination of technology and market expertise, scores 2020 with a total of 43%.
The United Arab Emirates leads the Arab countries in the General Index, achieving an average of 75%.
The index reflects the interest and efforts of the Arab authorities in the past year towards improving opportunities for the growth and employment of financial technologies and the improvement of the digital financial services environment.
The index shows the need for more efforts to facilitate access to financing for financial technology service providers, entrepreneurs, and emerging companies and to follow up on the development of incentive legislation.
The Arab Monetary Fund recently launched the Index of Modern Financial Technologies in the Arab Countries (FinxAr), aiming to shed light on the developments present in the financial technology industry and digital financial services in the Arab countries during the period between 2018 and 2020. The launch of the index comes within the Arab Monetary Fund’s efforts to support Arab countries in promoting the fintech industry and digital financial transformation in a way that serves to enhance inclusiveness, financial stability, and opportunities to achieve sustainable development.
The annual index aims to identify the efforts of Arab countries in enabling and promoting fintech adoption. It also contributes to setting a vision for the modern financial technology industry in the Arab countries and how to support the fintech ecosystem, in order to help formulate national policies to strengthen the region’s industry in the future, where they harness potential opportunities and mitigate related challenges.
FinxAr consists of six main indices that represent the main pillars of the fintech ecosystem, including policies and legislation, the demand side, access to finance, financial markets infrastructure, talent development to support innovations, and finally collaboration and partnerships. The FinxAr index is considered the first of its type in terms of its dimensions and domains of countries’ interventions and monitoring their efforts to enhance the national fintech ecosystem.
The index findings reflect the interest and efforts exerted by the Arab authorities in the last three years towards improving opportunities for deploying financial technologies and digital financial services, in addition to the implementation of national strategies and programmes for digital transformation during 2020 is evident when compared alongside 2018 and 2019.
There is no doubt that the improvement is related to the acceleration by Arab countries in supporting remote financial activities and transactions amid the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. It is also related to the interest of many in the region to develop national strategies for fintech and digital transformation that outlines a roadmap to build solid pillars to adopt fintech and digital financial services; and hence digital financial inclusion. However, the index highlights some challenges that require more effort, especially in terms of facilitating access to financing for fintech service providers, entrepreneurs, and startups; in addition to following up the development of financial market infrastructure.
The General Index
The general index scored 43%, and the indices for talents and collaboration & partnerships came in the forefront with 50% and 49% respectively, then the demand side and policies & regulations indices by 44% each, while the results highlighted the need to pay attention to the pillars of financial market infrastructure and finance, as they scored 39% and 18%, respectively.
The results showed that the United Arab Emirates ranked first among the Arab countries in the general index with a percent of 75%, thanks to the multiple efforts to enhance the diverse fintech activities, and the various initiatives employing the latest financial technologies and providing the requirements that would improve their adoption. The level of digital financial transformation, in addition to enhancing financial awareness and education, providing financing to support innovation, as well as promoting collaboration and partnerships, whether at the national level within stakeholders or on both regional and international levels.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came in second place with a rate of 65%, benefiting from its acquisition of the second place at the level of the main indices for the development of the demand side and the availability of financing, due to the various initiatives sponsored by the authorities in assisting technology centres in supporting digital financial products and solutions in the Kingdom, and to enhance financial education. In addition to the various awareness programmes, enabling access to finance for small and medium enterprises. It also ranked third at the level of the leading indices of policies & regulations, financial market infrastructure, and talents.
As for the third place at the level of the general index, the Kingdom of Bahrain went to a rate of 64%, which reflects the Kingdom’s progress in terms of legislation and financial market infrastructure, through its acquisition of the first rank in the indices of policies & regulations, and the financial market infrastructure, thanks to adopting comprehensive policies to build a supportive regulatory framework for the fintech industry at the national level, and creating a comprehensive legislative infrastructure for the various fintech activities.
The fourth rank in the general index went to the Republic of Tunisia with a rate of 55% as a result of its progress in the main indices related to policies & regulations, and financial market infrastructure, reflecting the efforts of the multiple authorities in these aspects.
The Arab Republic of Egypt ranks fifth in the general index with a rate of 52%, due to Egypt’s acquisition of first place in the talents pillar, as a reflection of the various initiatives at the national and universities level. Moreover, thanks to the efforts made to boost the demand side, in terms of financial education and increasing the digital solutions and services provided, Egypt was ranked third in this index.
In this context, His Excellency the Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Monetary Fund, Dr. Abdulrahman A. Al Hamidy expressed his pleasure at launching the index, which is based on the results of a questionnaire sent to all central banks and Arab monetary institutions, for what it represents in an effective tool in identifying areas that need more attention, efforts, and appropriate policies required to benefit from the experiences of other Arab countries in this regard.