Dubai International Financial Centre and MENA FinTech Association to create innovation forum and establish cross-jurisdiction initiatives to advance the Future of Finance


DIFC and the non-profit organisation, MFTA, have signed a partnership to advance FinTech developments relevant to the region including Open Banking, RegTech, Payments and Digital AssetsDIFC, DFSA and MFTA have launched the “DIFC Innovation Panel” to create a forum to engage with FinTech and Innovation company founders, enablers and thought leaders

Dubai, UAE: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the global financial centre and leading FinTech hub, with over 300 FinTech and Innovation companies in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has signed an agreement with the MENA FinTech Association (MFTA), the independent, inclusive, not-for-profit, member-based organisation and industry body with 46 cross border FinTech bridges, strategic collaborations with regulators, policy makers and the voice of FinTech businesses across MENA.

The partnership agreement follows the establishment of the MENA FinTech Association in the DIFC end of last year and will see DIFC and MFTA nurture collaboration across topics most relevant for advancing FinTech and the Future of Finance in the region including Open Banking, RegTech, Payments and Digital Assets. DIFC and MFTA will also develop and publish joint research and provide strategically important educational programmes on those topics through the DIFC Academy.

The partnership and joint initiatives aim at deepening collaboration among regional regulators, industry associations, governments, financial institutions and FinTech businesses to unlock the full potential of the sector. DIFC is well regarded for being the region’s original pioneer for FinTech this has resulted in over 50 per cent of all GCC associated firms establishing in the Centre.

As part of this collaboration, DIFC Authority, DFSA and MFTA have jointly founded the “DIFC Innovation Panel”, an exclusive forum for founders, enablers and industry thought leaders to provide advice and guidance on how to develop and build a thriving Future of Finance and Innovation ecosystem. Also they will create a forum for regular engagement to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities in the market and the impact of innovative technologies and business models used by the financial services sector.

A key priority for the panel is to create greater engagement, transparency and understanding among all Future of Finance stakeholders on how to evolve the FinTech sector to unlock growth, while understanding, considering and mitigating new and emerging risks from new technologies.

The DIFC Innovation Panel membership is invitation-only and includes a core and extended group. Members include Ebury, Checkout, Tarabut Gateway, Sarwa, Coinmena, Ziina, Baraka, Aura Insurance, Ripple, Nuwa Capital, Endeavor, DAI, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and C4IR UAE.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “We are committed to strengthening a culture of localised innovation, especially in the FinTech sector, which is aligned with the vision of our leadership to establish Dubai as a hub for start-ups to flourish. As one of the world’s top FinTech hubs, highlighted by the launch of the DIFC FinTech Hive, we are continuously evaluating the FinTech landscape to identify new opportunities and address emerging challenges.

“Through our agreement with MFTA, we collaborate to create a roadmap for FinTech entrepreneurs by offering insights on the future of finance. The ‘DIFC Innovation Panel’ will serve as a platform for FinTech and Innovation companies, regulators, financial centres, established financial firms and governments to discuss emerging trends in this promising sector.”

Nameer Khan, Chairman of MFTA, said: “We are pleased to see the rapid development of our partnership with DIFC. With a primary focus of supporting FinTech businesses across the MENA region. The collaboration also includes strategic projects with government bodies, regional regulators and IFC’s to further compliment their work in creating an enabling framework which today plays a key role in the economics of a country. The ‘DIFC Innovation Panel’ will serve as a key catalyst in further strengthening the regional MENA FinTech landscape.”

About Dubai International Financial Centre:

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of USD 7.7 trillion.

With a 16-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of almost 27,000 professionals working across over 2,900 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance. Today, it offers one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.