MENA Fintech Association launched to support growing industry

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Panel discussion on ‘Shaping the Future of Fintech’



ABU DHABI — MENA Fintech Association (MFTA), an inclusive, not for profit organization that aims at fostering an open dialogue for the MENA fintech community, was formally launched on Sunday at an exclusive event held at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

The event was attended by fintech leaders from across the industry, including 22 financial regulators from the MENA region, government representatives, global and regional enterprises and the MFTA community. Together, they recognized and celebrated the Association’s achievements to date, since its inception at last year’s FinTech Abu Dhabi event, and also launched new initiatives that will shape the future of financial services in the region.

MENA Fintech Association has established 46 country bridges globally, had global experts address the local fintech community and brought together the MFTA community to socially impact lives. MFTA, with its technical and social events, has impacted 1000+ individuals’ lives and has, within a short span of time, worked with Arab Monetary Fund to establish a fintech framework. Through its global talent exchange program, in collaboration with corporate members, MFTA also launched their first publication: Regulation Simplified.

At the event, MENA Fintech Association also signed alliances with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), for strategic initiatives on financial inclusion and developments of financial services in the region, and the American University in Dubai, for specific academic projects and collaboration on ecosystem development initiatives for fintech startups and industry stakeholders, such as partnerships on accelerator programs, curriculum and capacity development. And excitingly, MENA Fintech Association and Anghami, the leading music streaming service in MENA with over 50+ million registered users across MENA and the Arab diaspora, have collaborated for an upcoming podcast series dedicated to ‘all things fintech’ in the region.

Nameer Khan Chairman and Founding Board Member of MENA Fintech Association, said: “We are delighted to officially launch this Association which is a first-of-its-kind in the region, uniting organizations and stakeholders from across the fintech community and advocating their interests, fostering collaboration, the development of industry standards and enabling industry discussion in a concrete way. The journey of making this a big success wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts of our founding board members: Nihal Abughattas (TEMENOS), Kokila Alagh (KARM), Irina Heaver (Bolton Holdings), Altaf Ahmed (Etisalat) and Umair Hameed (KPMG).”

A lively panel discussion on ‘Shaping the Future of Fintech’ was also hosted at the event, consisting of industry experts including Michael O’ Loughlin, VP of Global Solutions at TOKEN.IO; Kaiser Naseem, Advisor MFTA & International Finance Corporation; and Wai Lum Kwok, Executive Director, FSRA at ADGM. The group’s discussion put a spotlight on the fintech ecosystem development in the region, with current gaps identified and concrete steps decided, that will be taken to ensure a conducive environment is created. This will lead to building access to regulators, increasing the ease of doing business, freer access to capital and most importantly that the future workforce is created for the fintech in MENA.

The launch event also highlighted the next big developments in MENA’s fintech landscape, delivered by Navin Gupta, Managing Director MENA and SEA, at Ripple and Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM.

Teng said: “As the fintech ecosystem in the region grows, the community needs to collaborate more closely for a common effective voice to interact with the likes of regulators, policy makers and institutions. I would like to congratulate the MENA Fintech Association on its official launch and applaud Nameer and the founding team for stepping up to lead this important effort.”

MENA Fintech Association will seek to work with groups including start-ups and entrepreneurs, individual professionals and academia, financial institutions and corporates, investors and accelerators, regulatory authorities and policy makers; bringing together insights from across these disparate groups with a common interest to further drive the growth of investment in the fintech industry in the region, as well as adding value for each group.

With such a rapidly growing and maturing market, the MENA FinTech Association hopes to ensure that both established and emergent businesses can cement the region’s position on the world stage. — SG


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