The Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH) has outlined an 11-point agenda, including attracting global venture capital, tax incentives as well as setting up a fintech association and fintech bridges with other jurisdictions as Doha's fintech ecosystem focus on “niche and emerging technologies”.
These suggestions were made in the QFH's white paper, which was released yesterday. “QFTH has the potential to develop a vibrant entrepreneurial and fintech ecosystem”, it said.
Stressing that irrespective of the sector, technology adoption and digital transformation is expected to remain high, resulting in more demand for fintech services, it said, "This is a real opportunity for the Qatar fintech ecosystem to focus on niche and emerging technologies to develop value propositions in each of these sub-sectors and be ready to scale up when demand increases."
Suggesting the need for new sources of capital; it said the approach should be to unlock new and varied sources, direct capital from local angel investors and other capital providers for Qatar fintech.
Calling on the need to enhance global visibility to attract investment and foreign players; the paper said the key was to attract venture capital across the globe by conducting events globally to promote QFTH and increasing promotion of successful fintechs that have successfully launched and scaled in Qatar.
On creating global connections with other fintech hubs, it said the approach should be to establish bilateral co-operation agreements, or fintech ‘bridges’, with other jurisdictions.
"These bridges would enable regulators to efficiently share information about financial services innovation in their respective markets, including emerging trends and regulatory issues, aiming to foster innovation in fintech," it said.
About creating awareness about the fintech industry; the paper recommended establishing a fintech association that can create awareness among the public and inform them about the trends shaping fintech.
"This could help drive thought leadership, innovation, and R&D (research and development)," it said.
The paper also suggested possible tax incentives can include relief with low capital gains tax for entrepreneurs, R&D tax credits, an enterprise investment scheme for early investors, and tax relief on new equipment.
On the need for accelerating innovation, it recommended making QFTH a catalyst in transforming the financial services industry in Qatar by bringing together a collaborative ecosystem across financial institutions, government agencies, regulators, start-ups, higher education institutions, incubators, and corporates.
"This will foster a vibrant entrepreneurial and fintech ecosystem that will accelerate innovation in Qatar’s financial services space," it said.
The paper said there was a need to establish regular focused meetings between banks and fintechs where relevant fintechs can present their offerings and banks can look to collaborate with the most suitable fintech to further develop and customise the offering for their customers.
It recommended developing a national talent strategy to increase and diversify domestic talent supply within financial services by better understanding skills gaps.
There was also a need to collaborate with leading universities and academia to develop a fintech-focused curriculum and courses that are technically oriented, it said, adding "this will prepare students for a future in fintech."
Suggesting the need to assign mentors to fintechs to understand opportunities in Qatar; the paper said approach should be to establish a forum for fintechs to meet them and discuss their business ideas and possible solutions or turnarounds.
In the long run, fintech developments will help Qatari regulators to solve some of the key national challenges as anti-money laundering, know your customer and compliance, thus benefiting the entire financial services ecosystem, the paper said.