Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the global financial centre and FinTech hub, with over 300 fintech and Innovation companies in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has signed an agreement with the MENA FinTech Association (MFTA), the independent, inclusive, not-for-profit, member-based organisation and industry body with 46 cross border fintech bridges, strategic collaborations with regulators, policymakers and the voice of fintech businesses across MENA.
The partnership agreement follows the establishment of the MENA FinTech Association in the DIFC end of last year and will see DIFC and MFTA nurture collaboration across topics most relevant for advancing fintech and the future of finance in the region including open banking, regtech, payments and digital assets. DIFC and MFTA will also develop and publish joint research and provide strategically important educational programmes on those topics through the DIFC Academy.
The partnership and joint initiatives aim at deepening collaboration among regional regulators, industry associations, governments, financial institutions and fintech businesses to unlock the full potential of the sector. DIFC is well regarded for being the region’s original pioneer for fintech this has resulted in over 50% of all GCC associated firms establishing in the Centre.
As part of this collaboration, DIFC Authority, DFSA and MFTA have jointly founded the “DIFC Innovation Panel”, an exclusive forum for founders, enablers and industry thought leaders to provide advice and guidance on how to develop and build a thriving Future of Finance and Innovation ecosystem. Also, they will create a forum for regular engagement to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities in the market and the impact of innovative technologies and business models used by the financial services sector.
A key priority for the panel is to create greater engagement, transparency and understanding among all Future of Finance stakeholders on how to evolve the fintech sector to unlock growth, while understanding, considering and mitigating new and emerging risks from new technologies.
The DIFC Innovation Panel membership is invitation-only and includes a core and extended group. Members include among others Ebury, Checkout, Sarwa, Ripple, Careem, Nuwa Capital, DAI, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and C4IR UAE.
Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “We are committed to strengthening a culture of localised innovation, especially in the fintech sector, which is aligned with the vision of our leadership to establish Dubai as a hub for start-ups to flourish. As one of the world’s top fintech hubs, highlighted by the launch of the DIFC FinTech Hive, we are continuously evaluating the fintech landscape to identify new opportunities and address emerging challenges.
“Through our agreement with MFTA, we collaborate to create a roadmap for fintech entrepreneurs by offering insights on the future of finance. The ‘DIFC Innovation Panel’ will serve as a platform for fintech and Innovation companies, regulators, financial centres, established financial firms and governments to discuss emerging trends in this promising sector.”
Nameer Khan, Chairman of MFTA, said: “We are pleased to see the rapid development of our partnership with DIFC. With a primary focus of supporting fintech businesses across the MENA region. The collaboration also includes strategic projects with government bodies, regional regulators and IFC’s to further compliment their work in creating an enabling framework which today plays a key role in the economics of a country. The ‘DIFC Innovation Panel’ will serve as a key catalyst in further strengthening the regional MENA fintech landscape.”