Central Bank of UAE Launches Financial Infrastructure Initiative to Accelerate Digital Transformation

In line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Central Bank of the UAE’s (CBUAE) Board of Directors, the CBUAE launched its Financial Infrastructure Transformation Program (FIT program) “to accelerate the digital transformation in the financial services sector as part of a wider strategy aimed at enabling the CBUAE to be among the top central banks globally.”

The FIT Program aims “to support financial services sector, promote digital transactions, and enable the UAE’s competitiveness to become the financial and digital payment hub and a center of excellence for innovation and digital transformation through encouraging innovation and collaboration as well as competition in the financial sector.”

The Program comprises “implementation of nine key initiatives.” The first stage includes “a series of digital payment infrastructures and services such as the launch of a Card Domestic Scheme, an Instant Payments Platform, and the issuance of Central  Bank Digital Currency for cross-border and domestic uses.”

These digital payment initiatives will “drive financial inclusion, promote payment innovation, security and efficiency, and achieve a cashless society.”

As part of the FIT Programme, the CBUAE will “strengthen its digital leadership by adopting advanced supervisory technologies and data management solutions to implement robust supervisory processes and ensure financial stability.”

In assisting the financial industry to move forward to the digital decade, the next stage of the FIT Program is “to develop and implement a number of digital infrastructures, including the establishment of Financial Cloud, eKYC and Open Finance Platforms.”

These digital infrastructures will “improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost of operation, enhance innovation and customer experience, and most importantly, strengthen their security and operational resilience.”

With a full integration set for 2026, the FIT Program “creates an important platform in support of the country’s ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision and National Digital Economy CBUAE Classification: Restricted Strategy.”

It also further reinforces the CBUAE’s mission “to enhance monetary and financial stability and consumer protection through robust financial infrastructure and the adoption of digital technologies.”

H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the CBUAE, said:

“The FIT Program embodies the directions and aspirations of our wise leadership towards digitizing the economy and developing the financial sector. We are proud to be building an infrastructure that will support a thriving UAE financial ecosystem and its future. We will work with our partners to implement the Program,  achieve its goals, accelerate the adoption of digital services in the financial sector and attract the best talent.”

The nine initiatives of the FIT Program are:

  • Card Domestic Scheme: The UAE’s first unified, secured, and efficient card
    payment platform to facilitate the growth of e-commerce and digital transactions
    in the country.
  •  eKYC: A secure and user-friendly platform to facilitate non-face-to-face
    customer on-boarding and on-going customer due diligence.
  • Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): CBDC for both cross-border
    payments and domestic usage in order to address the problems and
    inefficiency of cross-border payments and help drive innovation for domestic
    payments respectively.
  • Open Finance: Driving innovation and competitiveness as well as collaboration
    in the financial services sector through inter-connectivity and inter-operability
    among all players and institutions.
  • Supervisory Technology (SupTech): Advanced SupTech supporting the
    regulatory and supervisory processes.
  • Innovation Hub: A collaborative platform for engagement, research and
    development for Fintechs.
  • Instant Payments Platform: A secure, efficient, and robust payment platform
    that will support financial inclusion and enable a cashless society through digital
  • Financial Cloud: A secure, resilient, scalable, and reliable sovereign financial
  • Excellence & Customer Experience: Supporting exceptional customer
    experiences and fostering a culture of excellence across the financial sector.

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