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How Gulf Countries Are Embracing FinTech

FinTech in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

On a global scale, the adoption of advanced technologies has been rapidly accelerating. FinTech has affected almost all the industries that are located in the GCC, including the sports and telecommunication sectors. All the countries under the GCC are highly adaptive to the technologies or any innovative idea for that matter.

The GCC nations have embraced the opportunities in FinTech and blockchain technology, in particular, at different paces. FinTech plays a crucial role in the future of the financial services industry in the region – the industry is expected to immensely impact public and private sectors. FinTech is bringing advanced technologies into the financial sector, improving its performance and delivering value to customers. Some estimates suggest that investments in Gulf-based FinTech startups are expected to reach $2 billion in the next decade, compared to $150 million invested in the last 10 years.

Among the GCC nations, the banks located in the UAE have wholeheartedly welcomed FinTech. The Emirates NBD has stationed itself as the leader of the technology by releasing the Emirates NBD Future Lab. And along with this, they have also declared their commitment to invest AED 1 billion in the space (~USD 272+ million).

FinTech in the GCC is still in its early stage. However, a few stars are already visible:

  • PayTabs, a payment gateway, raised $20 million for its global expansion in 2017.

  • Beehive is one of the iconic startups in the UAE that focuses on P2P lending and crowdfunding. In 2017, the UAE launched a regulatory framework that opened the door for crowdfunding in the region. Other countries in the region are expected to follow the same trend.

  • Aqeed, a fast-growing FinTech startup that focuses on the car insurance segment. Aqeed raised $18 million in 2018.

The culture of structured and organized seed capital is still new in th ...

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