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MENA Fintech Association launches to support fintech Industry in growing MENA marketplace

Against the fintech industry's backdrop of ongoing growth and momentum, a new industry association has announced its launch in the MENA.

The fintech industry in the Middle East is currently estimated to be worth over $2 billion It is believed to grow by $125 million annually over the next 3 years With such a rapidly growing and maturing market, the MENA FinTech Association hopes to ensure that both established and emergent businesses can cement the region’s position on the world stage

MENA Fintech Association (MFTA), an inclusive, not for profit organization that aims at fostering an open dialogue for the MENA fintech community, formally launched yesterday at an exclusive event held at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

The event was attended by fintech leaders from across the industry, including 22 financial regulators from the MENA region, government representatives, global and regional enterprises and the MFTA community. Together, they recognized and celebrated the Association’s achievements to date, since its inception at last year’s FinTech Abu Dhabi event, and also launched new initiatives that will shape the future of financial services in the region.

MENA Fintech Association has established 46 country bridges globally, had global experts address the local fintech community and brought together the MFTA community to socially impact lives. MFTA, with its technical and social events, has impacted 1000+ individuals’ lives and has, within a short span of time, worked with Arab Monetary Fund to establish a fintech framework. Through its global talent exchange program, in collaboration with corporate members, MFTA also launched their first publication: Regulation Simplified.

A lively panel discussion on ‘Shaping the Future of Fintech’ was also hosted at the event, consisting of industry experts including Michael O’ Loughlin, VP of Global Solutions at TOKEN.IO; Kaiser Naseem, Advisor MFTA & International Finance Corporation; and Wai Lum Kwok, Executive Director, FSRA at ADGM. The group’s discussion put a spotlight on the fintech ecosystem development in the region, with current gaps identified and concrete steps decided, that will be taken to ensure a conducive environment is created. This will lead to building access to regulators, increasing the ease of doing business, freer access to capital and most importantly that the future workforce is created for the fintech in MENA. 

Furthermore, the launch event also highlighted the next big developments in MENA’s fintech landscape, delivered by Navin Gupta, Managing Director MENA and SEA, at Ripple and Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM. 

Mr Teng said of the event: “As the fintech ecosystem in the region grows, the community needs to collaborate more closely for a common effective voice to interact with the likes of regulators, policy makers and institutions. 

Over the coming months and years, the MENA Fintech Association will seek to work with groups including start-ups and entrepreneurs, individual professionals and academia, financial institutions and corporates, investors and accelerators, regulatory authorities and policy makers; bringing together insights from across these disparate groups with a common interest to further drive the growth of investment in the fintech industry in the region, as well as adding value for each group.

The financial technology industry in the Middle East is currently estimated to be worth over $2 billion and believed to grow by $125 million annually over the next 3 years. The region has left no stone unturned to revolutionise the way one transacts in the MENA – multiple regulators and authorities are trying to cater to the needs of corporate houses and ambitious start-ups. 

Forward looking banks have opened their doors for Fintech solutions and open banking to embrace the emerging technology, in order to drive value, remain relevant and competitive in a region- and partake in the investments, success and output of the fintech services.

With such a rapidly growing and maturing market, the MENA FinTech Association hopes to ensure that both established and emergent businesses can cement the region’s position on the world stage.

Till date, the Association has established more than 46 global collaborations outside the region including in Singapore, Hong Kong, Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Turkey, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Copenhagen, Poland, Astana (Nur Sultan), Philippines, Switzerland to name a few and this week’s formal launch is set to see the celebration of achievements like these since its inception at the FinTech Abu Dhabi 2018 event; as well as outline the next set of milestones.