Qatar is considered a “blue ocean” and less saturated than other regional markets, and “a great launching pad” for businesses penetrating the rest of the Mena region, an executive of Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has said, citing the observations of founders of Doha-based fintech companies.
Mohamed Abdulsalam al-Emadi, senior manager of Investments at QDB, made the statement Tuesday during the opening of the two-day Arab Fintech Forum 2023, which highlights financial innovation and inclusion in the Middle East.
“I believe that through the effort of organisations, such as Qatar Development Bank and other partners in the ecosystem, we will be able to develop financial innovation programmes that address the gap in financial inclusion,” al-Emadi stressed.
In a speech, al-Emadi noted that by 2030, it’s anticipated that the global fintech sector will generate annual revenues of nearly “$1.5tn,” which accounts for nearly “25%” of all global banking valuations.
In terms of financial innovation, al-Emadi said fintech has played “a significant instructive role” in transforming market segments, particularly in payments and transaction banking.
“Fintech has attracted more than $500bn in funding worldwide over the past decades, even though there was a decline in the last year due to varying factors, including behavioural conflict, supply chain issues, rising inflation, decreasing valuation, and the recovery from the global pandemic. Data indicates that fintech is revolutionising the access to financial resources, breaking down barriers and empowering underserved communities,” he stressed.
According to al-Emadi, the growing market demand for a convenient and secure financial transaction system and a more attractive economic and financial ecosystem is anticipated to grow faster in the MENA region than the majority of other financial ecosystems in the region.
He said the rapid adoption of the digital payment system in Qatar has prompted fintech companies to develop innovative payment solutions, such as mobile wallets, one-to-one payment apps, contactless payments, and other digital solutions.
Al-Emadi said QDB is an example of how the banking industry can play a critical role in the successful implementation of this vision. He noted that QDB is supporting Qatar’s goals to increase diversification and innovation in financial services through leading institutes like Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) and other programmes.
He also said QDB is actively identifying opportunities in the financial, government, and administrative domains, where it can offer comprehensive solutions. “This empowers entrepreneurs to stay focused on their core business and continue pushing the boundaries,” al-Emadi said.
Malik Shishtawi, founder and CEO, Mangusteen, said the Arab Fintech Forum attracted delegations from more than 20 countries and features speakers from more than 10 countries.
The event, which concludes Wednesday, also features an exhibition area and hands-on workshops for startups and other enterprises, Shishtawi explained.
“We’re launching a new initiative to help fintech startups meet face-to-face with the investors to be able to ask for funding on the spot in front of the audience. We are also introducing the fintech awards to recognise key players from our industry,” he also said.
Shishtawi added: "Today's discussions epitomise our forum's commitment to positioning the MENA region at the forefront of fintech evolution."
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