Editor's Choice Fintech Insights Middle East & Africa

Who’s Who in Fintech: The Middle East and Africa 2021 Report

The Fintech Times has announced the release of a new report analysing the fintech ecosystem in the Middle East and Africa (MEA). The report, entitled “Fintech: The Middle East and Africa 2021”,  aims to give a comprehensive overview of the fintech landscape in the region from an economic development context.

The report is divided into three chapters, with the first covering the economic development of the region and how and why that is impacting the growth of fintech in MEA. The second categorises 22 nations in MEA that were deemed to be the fintech hotspots within the region to give a straightforward guide to the region’s hubs. These countries were ranked based on a variety of data-informed indicators, including the number of fintech companies, GDP and regulatory scope. Finally, the third chapter concludes the report with predictions of future trends in the fintech space and its role in the regions wider development.

The report highlighted that within MEA there are an estimated 2,800 fintech solutions. Israel, with 750 fintechs, and the UAE, with over 400, took the top premier global fintech hub status (noted in the report as ‘tier-one’) as they both not only have strong advanced economies but also clear fintech and wider tech ecosystems that are mature.

MEA report Country Focus

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain scored high in the emerging fintech hub category (‘tier two’); others in the emerging category include Turkey, Qatar, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria.

Uganda, Morocco and Rwanda were classified as ‘tier three’, being “markets to watch” that are predicted to convert to emerging hubs should their growth and focus on fintech continue.

Richie Santosdiaz
Richie Santosdiaz, Head of Middle East & Africa

Richie Santosdiaz, Head of MEA at The Fintech Times and main author of the report, said: “The fintech landscape in the MEA region, minus a few pockets, as a whole is generally much more infant in its maturity of fintech. Nevertheless, by contextualising all the changes the region has undergone, particularly from an economic development and diversification lens, one can see the sudden growth and importance fintech plays in MEA. COVID-19 has further accelerated wider digital transformation and this plays true as well in the region.

“The report confirms, consolidates and offers insights to what many perceived in the MEA region. Given much information about MEA is either mostly fragmented, geographically split, or very high-level, my aim of the report was to be a comprehensive guide for both those who might know little about MEA let alone fintech in the region, as well as those who might be more in tune with its developments but might not see it from either an economic development light nor have validation of facts that until now remains generally limited.

“The growth of fintech in MEA is nonetheless a consequence of the economic development that has happened from the top and wider digital transformation, even in a post-pandemic world, will take play this year and beyond in the region.”

Other key findings include:

  • Economic development will play a strong part in regional fintech development
  • Governments, as part of national strategies or not, can help foster and mature their respective fintech ecosystems via access to finance especially at the micro-level for many areas
  • COVID-19 and digital transformation will continue to transform the MEA consumer, with many likely to be driven by necessity to embrace fintech solutions. This will help solidify fintech’s importance and deliver more growth in the sector

Download/View the full report here: https://thefintechtimes.com/country-reports/

This is the first report produced by The Fintech Times for the MEA region. The MEA section (part of its wider European, Asian and Americas coverage) was launched in the summer of 2020.


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