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UAE home to over 67 fintech startups in Middle East
(5 April 2019)


Latest figures by Bloomberg Intelligence revealed that the UAE has topped the list of countries in the Middle East with the highest number of financial technology (fintech) startups to date at 67. The UAE was followed by Turkey at 44 and Jordan and Lebanon at 30 each. Overall, the number of fintech startups in the region is forecasted to expand from 96 in 2019 to 465 by 2020, with a separate report, an Accenture analysis based on CBI Insights data, predicting that investments in the fintech sector will jump to USD 2.28 billion by 2022 from USD 287 million in 2019. 

The figures were made public ahead of this year’s AIM Startup taking place in Dubai from 8th to 10th April in conjunction with the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM). This year’s theme of ‘Harnessing Global Digitization to Empower Startups and SMEs’ will highlight the shift in consumer expectations against the backdrop of global adoption of digital technologies. 

Dawood Al Shezawi, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of AIM Startup, noted that the recent numbers supported other findings disclosing that not only startups have been flocking to the local and regional fintech sectors due to their promising growth prospects but that the UAE has remained a preferred destination for their operations as well regardless of their industries.

“We have looked into several factors for this trend and we can confidently say that the UAE’s high data connectivity makes it a fertile ground for startups and enterprises.  In today’s era where you have tech-savvy customer base expecting exceptional service at all times, the issue of data connectivity will help make or break your business. The Emirates has one of the superb infrastructural systems in this regard across the region and it is further raising its game to transform itself into a leading global business and connectivity centre by accelerating its national 5G connectivity program,” he said.    

The country ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa and 23rd globally in the Global Connectivity Index (GCI) 2018 released by Huawei. The report described the UAE’s broadband market as “one of the most advanced both regionally and globally”. It also noted its high smartphone penetration rate as well as improvements in 4G coverage, cloud experience, and “induced potentiality for the [Internet of Things].” Further the report showed that the Gulf state’s broadband and data centre outperformed its neighbours and most countries across the world. 

AIM Startup 2019 will focus on the opportunities and challenges brought about by the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on small businesses. More than 500 startups are joining the 2019 edition to engage with investors, government representatives, corporate executives, and industry experts. Launched in 2017, AIM Startup, an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Economy, aims to connect promising startups with investors and business partners from all over the world.


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