Qatar’s economic diversification strategy is expected to gain further momentum from the growth and development of the country’s financial technology (fintech) industry, an official from Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has said.

“Fintech holds considerable opportunities for economic diversification, one of the four pillars of Qatar’s National Vision 2030,” QDB executive director of Advisory and Incubation Ibrahim al-Mannai told Gulf Times.

Al-Mannai explained that Qatar aims to work with payment-based businesses that could help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) streamline their operations. One of Qatar’s main advantages, as a financial services hub, is its ability to work with qualified professionals who can help improve the nation’s economy, he continued.

“The future is fintech. The added value that fintech presents to any industry is truly understated, the benefits are limitless, and this is the goal at Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) to help deliver in the future,” al-Mannai stressed.

Asked to provide an overview of QFTH in terms of its objectives, vision, and plans, al-Mannai said QFTH is a global fintech hub with a purpose to support the development of the fintech industry in Qatar.

According to al-Mannai, QFTH, co-founded by QDB to support the growth of the fintech industry in Qatar, brings together talented entrepreneurs, investors, and enablers to develop disruptive technologies “so that great ideas become reality.”

He said QFTH aims to facilitate collaboration among participants and stakeholders of the fintech ecosystem and to develop impactful local and global relationships that will serve its vision.

“We aspire to become a globally-recognised hub that connects like-minded hubs, organisations, and regulators from across the world. By leveraging the fintech industry, QFTH aims to contribute in addressing pressing social and financial services challenges in Qatar and beyond,” al-Mannai said.

Asked about QFTH’s milestones and achievements since its inception, he said Wave 1 of the QFTH Incubator and Accelerator programmes received more than 750 applications from 72 countries across the globe.

“In Wave 1 of its programmes, QFTH secured over 200 mentor sessions, in collaboration with 36 leading local and global mentors, in addition to over 400 business development sessions with 15 financial institutions, having conducted 13 high-level Masterclasses conducted by 34 partners from QFTH extensive network and renowned speakers from across the globe.

“Enrolled fintechs also benefited from participating in international events, including ‘Hong Kong FitTech Week’, a range of events organised by QDB, as well as international webinars,” al-Mannai noted.

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