The UAE is ideally positioned to serve as the ‘beating heart’ of a regional innovation hub; according to a news report published by Oliver Wyman in collaboration with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
With 1.7 billion of the world’s workforce still lacking access to formal financial services, there has been a demand for the advancement of financial institutions globally. Nearly 50 per cent of all financially excluded and underserved individuals are currently situated in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
“In a financially inclusive environment, individuals and businesses can conveniently access a variety of financial services at low cost and are offered products that are tailored to their specific needs. For a significant share of the population across MEASA this is currently not possible. While many existing efforts are underway across the region, these are often heavily fragmented and make a large-scale advancement challenging.” said Greg Rung, Partner, Financial Services.
Digital technologies are of the upmost importance in achieving financial inclusion. The proposed hub will support centralisation of efforts and identify opportunities for scalable solutions. Dubai is ideally positioned to become the centre of the innovation hub due to a combination of a unique set of features. It is already recognised as a global and regional economic and financial hub with strong financial expertise. In addition, Dubai’s commitment to financial innovation is embedded in its financial services and national visions, such as Smart Dubai and Dubai Plan 2021.
“With an approximate population of 3 billion, the MEASA region sits on a large pool of opportunities that are still untapped for the lack of financial access. Delivering financial services to more people across the region has become a necessity that Dubai, and the UAE as a whole, are perfectly positioned to contribute to,” said Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer at the DIFC Authority
“At DIFC, financial inclusion remains a key focus for us in our ongoing efforts to shape the future of finance in MEASA. We have already made important strides towards nurturing an integrated ecosystem that can unlock the potential of emerging trends such as FinTech and InsurTech in the region. We believe that this will not only transform the way the financial services industry operates, but will also create a positive wave of social impact and economic gains across the MEASA countries,” said Amiri.