Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create a platform that brings fintech firms and the Islamic financial sector together, as Dubai seeks to position itself as a hub for both fintech and Islamic finance.
Earlier this year, the DIFC launched the FinTech Hive accelerator which is intended to identify the best technology entrepreneurs and startups through a competitive process. It then offers successful applicants the opportunity to develop their innovations in collaboration with top executives from DIFC and regional financial institutions such as Citi, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Visa, Emirates NBD, and Mashreq.
The program will also provide access to mentorship from top tech partners such as Facebook which will also run an independent workshop for startups, providing advice on monetization, growth and engagement, development and marketing tools, and analytics.
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Dubai has long sought to position itself as a global hub for Islamic finance, going as far as issuing a sovereign Islamic bond in recent years.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, commented: “With the global Muslim population expected to grow by 73% between 2010 and 2050, there will undoubtedly be a subsequent increase in the demand for Islamic Finance services both in the region and beyond. We are continuously investing in our world-class ecosystem at DIFC and that includes an infrastructure that is compliant and in line with best practice for Islamic Finance institutions. FinTech Hive at DIFC is committed to revolutionising financial technologies across all core sub-sectors, and Islamic Finance is no exception. This MoU is an important and progressive step for FinTech, for the Islamic economy and for FinTech Hive at DIFC.”
Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, added: “According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2016, commissioned by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, Islamic finance assets valued at around US$2 trillion, are projected to reach US$3.5 trillion by 2021. However, within the maturing Islamic economy landscape, several segments still need to be tapped. These include mobile banking and payment systems, as well as SME financing. We are confident the FinTech Hive at DIFC will go a long way towards developing these high-potential segments, and are committed to supporting the accelerator programme to guarantee its success.”