Tuesday 14, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

DIFC launches a $100 million fintech fund


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced in the presence of HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC, the launch of a $100 million fintech-focused fund to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in start-ups from incubation through to growth stage.

The fund was announced during the inaugural Global Financial Forum (GFF), organised by DIFC. The GFF, which took place today under the theme “Navigating the New Order”, was attended by over 350 influencers from the financial services industry, who were selected out of hundreds that had applied to attend.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that today, we are launching a new USD 100 million fund to help establish, grow and upscale start-up and growth stage FinTech firms looking to access the MEASA markets.  The fund will leverage the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem consisting of attractive experimental licences, market leading pricing and collaborative spaces. There is immense opportunity in this market, and this will be one more step towards shaping the future of finance in the region. There is huge potential in the region we serve and through the DIFC, we look to support the development of emerging markets in MEASA and encourage greater trade flows through the South-South corridor, which stretches from Latin America, through to Africa, India, South East-Asia and China,” said HE Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC.

The Forum featured a line-up of high-profile speakers who participated in a wide range of deep-dive sessions, panel discussions and fireside chats, covering the three main themes of Globalising Gulf Finance, Emerging Markets, and The Future of Finance.

The first two sessions of the day, which featured prominent economists such as Hafez Ghanem, the vice president of the World Bank Middle East and North Africa discussed the increasing attractiveness of Gulf markets amongst international investors as well as the rise of the global Islamic economy and Shari'ah-based financial technology.

Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered discussed global emerging markets and shared his view on where Standard Chartered is seeing the greatest potential for growth.

The importance of geo-economics on trade deals, the impact of financial reforms in emerging markets on the development of sustainable economic development, and the digitalisation of finance were amongst the main topics covered during the day. 

To that end, fintech and the digitalisation of finance in emerging markets dominated the discussion during the second half of the day. The discussions shed light on the power of blockchain to revolutionise the sectors of banking, trade finance and data housing. Panellists also discussed the social impact of fintech, and its ability to bring banking and finance services to millions individuals in the region with limited access to banking and financial services.