Qatar Fintech Hub Publishes International Report on State of Fintech in MENA Region

Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), established by the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) to support the growth of the Fintech industry in the Middle Eastern country, published its first whitepaper on the current state of the fast-evolving Fintech ecosystem in the MENA region.

Titled “From Qatar to the World: A report on the state of FinTech in Qatar,” the whitepaper aims to offer an extensive review of the domestic and regional Fintech market, following the introduction of Qatar’s National Fintech Strategy by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB).

The strategy aims to “facilitate the set up and growth of local Fintechs, while creating a favorable business ecosystem to attract international ones and entice them to make Qatar a launchpad for their regional and global expansion.”

The announcement also mentioned that the national efforts to support the local Fintech sector has “begun to bear fruit.”

As stated in a release:

“Qatar is emerging as a potential new home for Fintech in the region with QFTH becoming the 2nd largest Fintech venture investor in MENA in Q1 2021. Such new status makes the Whitepaper a crucial and timely document for the global Fintech community, bringing entrepreneurs, investors, and stakeholders the insights and knowledge they need to identify gaps and possible market entry opportunities.”

The report highlights key challenges and opportunities “within the context of global industry trends, while detailing the forces promoting the rapid growth of Fintech in the country, such as access to opportunities, favorable regulations, access to talent, and access to capital.”

The nation’s Fintech capabilities, in comparison to major Fintech hubs from the US, UK, Singapore, Australia, India, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, indicate that Qatar is in “a good position in terms of access to capital and focus on innovation.”

The government has “facilitated access to capital through several venture vehicles, and where innovation is concerned, Qatar was found to be performing better than its peers.”

As noted in the release, Qatar can further “reinforce emphasis on innovation by launching a FinTech innovation division and an inter-university Fintech body to develop talent and raise awareness.”

Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, CEO at QDB and Chairman of QFTH Taskforce, stated:

“Qatar has been working hard to gain traction with globally trending technological developments and is shaping up as a technology-led economy. FinTech offers a significant opportunity to drive Qatar’s economic diversification, one of the four pillars of Qatar’s National Vision 2030. It also provides a massive opportunity for SMEs in GCC countries, particularly in Qatar, to gain greater access to funding, one of the major challenges they face globally.”

He added:

“Emerging technologies could play a significant role in the country’s overall economic transformation, especially where digitization of services is involved, including government to citizen, business to consumer, government to business, and business to business services. This report spotlights a myriad of opportunities for the FinTech community to become part of our success story.”

Currently available for download through their website, QFTH has worked with established research partners to “conduct the groundwork for the whitepaper.”

QFTH is also a platform where firms are able to access “a wide network of partners, mentors, and experts from across the globe, which has enabled it to succeed in conducting the first ever specialized FinTech incubation and acceleration programs, graduating 40+ FinTechs.”

QFTH was launched by QDB “in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, and QCB’s FinTech Strategy to build on Qatar’s success in the financial sector and enhance the country’s role in the field of financial innovation.”

The first wave of the program focused on Payment Technologies, “whereas the second, which has recently graduated, centered around Emerging Technologies that address the challenges of financial institutions.”

The themes and solutions were “curated in alignment with the Qatar FinTech Strategy, and in synergy with QCB – Sandbox.” QFTH is currently getting ready to “kick off Wave 3 under the theme ‘Embedded Finance and TechFin’.”

You may download the whitepaper here.

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