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UAE turns top hub for Fintech Start-ups

Thanks to government support and initiatives taken by the financial free zones in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that the country is home to highest number of start-ups and investments into this nascent sector. 

When it comes to fintech start-ups, the UAE continues to strengthen its position as a hub. While South Africa leads in Africa with 184 start-ups followed by 146 in Nigeria, 111 in Kenya, 36 in Ghana, 34 in Egypt and 24 in Uganda. According to what Bloomberg Intelligence says the UAE is home to the highest number of fintech start-ups at 67 followed by 44 in Turkey, 30 each in Lebanon and Jordan.

Need of more venture capital to fund growing fintech start-ups is seen by Bloomberg Intelligence. According to Accenture analysis based on CBI Insights data, in the coming years, the number of fintech start-ups and investments into this sector will keep rising, increasing from 96 in 2019 to 465 by 2022 in the Middle East, while investments will increase from $287 million in 2019 to $2.28 billion by 2022.

According to the reports, “strong momentum will start from 2019. Although the UAE hinted at a growing number of fintech start-ups, investment level in the region is still modest. In more than $90 billion by 2017 invested in fintech start-ups globally since 2010, only 1 per cent was allocated to companies in the Middle East and Africa.”

DIFC’s ecosystem continues to attract fintech start-ups with its unique experimental licences, market leading pricing and collaborative workspaces said Arif Amiri, CEO, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority.

Dedicated commercial licenses for fintech, insurtech and regtech firms are few things that the centre offers. Nevertheless an interactive and collaborative workspace as well as access to the region’s largest financial community – all available for entrepreneurs looking to set up and operate from Dubai.

The first wave of Fintech takes care of payments while the second wave focuses on online banking and mobile by offering better, faster and less costly, user-experiences. Fintech’s third wave begins to emerge with some banks adopting blockchain technology, start-ups growing in fields like regulation, risk solution, insurance and identity verification (KYC).

Not just conventional, the UAE is leading in Islamic fintech start-ups as well in the Middle East. Indonesia has globally the highest number of Islamic fintech start-ups, followed by the UAE, the US and the UK, according to DinarStandard analysis.

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