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DIFC: accelerating the future of finance and fintech

Leading financial centre in the MEASA region - DIFC - reports on its efforts to accelerate the finance sector in the first half of 2020.

|Jul 20|magazine10 min read

In a recent announcement made by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) - a leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region - the centre highlighted its continued commitment to driving the future of finance.  

Making progress on its 2024 strategic priorities, DIFC has achieved a record number of registrations in the first six months of 2020, with a total of 310 new companies registered, a 25% increase compared to the same period in 2019. As a result the company has a total number of active registered companies of 2,584, as well as an average monthly registration of 52 companies with two record breaking months - 66 in March and 88 in June.

“During the first six months of 2020, the Centre continued to report progress on its 2024 targets. DIFC remained focused on accelerating its reputation as a leading global financial centre and one of the world’s foremost FinTech and innovation hubs. During H1 2020, DIFC delivered a series of record-breaking months for registrations. This was achieved whilst we supported our clients during the global challenges of COVID-19. We would like to thank them for the trust they have in Dubai and DIFC,” commented Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority.

As part of DIFC’s focus on innovation and technology, the organisation has had a total of 87 fintech firms join its technology and innovation ecosystem boosting its licensed fintech firms to 74% compared to 2019.

In addition DIFC has also launched a comprehensive package that aligned with the Dubai Government ‘s economic stimulus programme in response to COVID-19.

“The Dubai International Financial Centre’s ability to maintain a high momentum of growth despite the global repercussions of the pandemic reflects the Centre’s strong fundamentals and its high levels of preparedness to navigate unforeseen crises, supported by Dubai’s broader economic stability, adaptability and spirit of resilience. DIFC’s sustained expansion also proves its ability to offer partners constructive solutions to deal with uncertain circumstances as well as its robust governance, regulatory framework and infrastructure. Furthermore, the strong results demonstrate the trust that stakeholders and partners have in Dubai and DIFC even amidst unfavourable global economic conditions,” commented His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the DIFC.

“The sustained growth delivered during the first half of 2020 is testament to the resilience of the Centre. The performance demonstrates the confidence the industry has in DIFC. As we enter a new period of digital transformation and operate within a ‘new normal’, we will continue to play a key role in contributing to the economy. DIFC will continue to demonstrate our forward-thinking approach to ensure we shape the future of finance, whilst attracting the world’s leading firms, inspirational startups and the best talent,” added His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC.

At the forefront of fintech innovation

During the first half of 2020, DIFC FinTech Hive tripled in size following the opening of a larger space in Gate Avenue to support startups, scaleups and entrepreneurs. Due to the expanded space, DIFC has boosted its dynamic ecosystem, providing the ability to access funding, mentorship, knowledge sharing and collaboration with leading global financial institutions.

“The growth in the FinTech sector has enhanced the Centre’s reputation as one of the world’s most advanced financial centres and reinforces Dubai’s position as a top international Financial Innovation Lab, as listed by Global Finance,” commented DIFC in a company statement.

The organisation's 2020 cohort received over 600 applications - an increase of 46% year on year - from regtech, islamic fintech, insurtech and broader fintech sectors. In addition 10 startups were selected by the organisation to join Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai’s second cohort, as well as 16 applicants selected to join the Innovation Testing License scheme.

DIFC continued to advance its comprehensive startup proposition by investing in four FinTech companies. The investments were made as part of the US$100mn DIFC FinTech Fund launched in 2019 to help start-up and growth stage FinTech companies scale up. The four companies, FlexxPay, Go Rise, NOW Money and Sarwa focus on payments and robo-advisory,” commented DIFC.

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