Fintech Adoption: Central Bank of UAE Partners with DIFC to Support Financial Tech Sector Growth

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) signed an agreement with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the international financial center in the MEASA region, in order to collaborate on the development and growth of the UAE’s Fintech sector “through joint initiatives and activities.”

The agreement was reportedly signed by H.E. Khaled Mohammed Balama Al Tameemi, Governor of the Central Bank of UAE, and H.E. Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, as “part of CBUAE’s Future of Finance conference, held during Expo 2020 on 13-14 October 2021.”

CBUAE will be working cooperatively with DIFC on CBUAE and DIFC strategies to “jointly advance the competitiveness and digital transformation of the UAE financial sector to be recognized as a leading global FinTech hub,” the announcement noted.

This will include “the development of a co-sandbox and other joint initiatives to enable FinTechs and regulators to test and enhance CBUAE, DFSA or joint regulations and guidance leveraging existing DIFC’s FinTech programmes and capabilities,” the announcement confirmed.

The agreement further stipulates collaboration on FinTech initiatives and activities between the parties, “including the development of accelerator programmes, competitions, workshops, seminars and conferences to boost the national FinTech ecosystem.”

H.E. Khaled Mohammed Balama Al Tameemi, Governor of the Central Bank of UAE, stated:

“The global financial ecosystem has undergone a major digital transformation over the last few years. We strongly believe that one of the foremost ways to ensure a robust financial system is to develop a regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation and digitisation. DIFC is home to one of the largest FinTech accelerators in the region and has played a vital role in accelerating the prominence of FinTech solutions in the country. We are confident that this agreement will result in an environment that fosters the development of innovative solutions, in alignment with the nation’s ambitious economic growth plans and aspirations.”   

H.E. Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, remarked:

“As the leading global financial centre in the MEASA region and one of the world’s top ten FinTech hubs, we are focused on building a strong ecosystem of opportunities to tap the potential of FinTech. Ensuring an enabling environment for start-ups and young entrepreneurs is central to this. Through our partnership with the UAE Central Bank, we will offer FinTech entrepreneurs the confidence to realise their entrepreneurial dreams, and further contribute to Dubai and the UAE’s position as the global hub for the FinTech sector.”

DIFC is home to over 60% of Fintech and innovation related firms operating in the GCC and offer the most “comprehensive proposition” in the region that includes, education, incubation and acceleration programs, regulatory and operating licenses, as well as “mentoring from global financial institutions and funding opportunities.” The approach is “enabling DIFC to make a significant contribution towards Dubai becoming a global hub for innovation.”

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