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Qatar fast emerging as regional hub for FinTech, say experts

Qatar fast emerging as regional hub for FinTech, say experts

Tribune News Network
Doha
The Qatar-US Business Council hosted the virtual panel discussion on ‘Qatar’s Growing FinTech Sector & Business Opportunities’ in collaboration with the Embassy of Qatar in the United States and FinTEx.
The virtual discussion by sector experts provided US companies with an overview of the Qatar-US commercial relationship and the FinTech sector in Qatar including the regulatory environment, government initiatives, and business opportunities for US companies to support the sector’s development.
“Qatar is one of the most stable economies in the world, and we offer strong financial incentives for US-based companies, like our 20-year tax holidays for companies operating in Free Zones,” said Fahad Al Dosari, commercial attache at the Embassy of Qatar in the United States.
“All of Qatar’s government agencies are committed to supporting US investment in the region and making Qatar a fintech hub for the Middle East,” Dosari said.
Qatar is already a leading financial hub in the Middle East through the sector’s emphasis on payment innovations and Islamic financial services. Set forth by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB), the National Fintech Strategy aims to support the burgeoning sector in partnership with several key local stakeholders including Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Qatar Development Bank (QDB). The strategy will target opportunities in digital payments, money management, and lending, among others.
“QFC has long recognised that Qatar’s FinTech sector is booming with opportunities, and we see innovating and supporting the growth of this sector as a vital avenue to diversifying Qatar’s economy,” QFC CEO Yousuf Al Jaida said.
“Moreover, the ongoing Coronavirus crisis not only highlights the importance of tech and fintech but also accelerates adoption and development. We will continue in our efforts to enrich and develop the tech and fintech infrastructure in Qatar as an enabling platform and look forward to seeing more international FinTechs, including those from the US, integrate into Qatar’s thriving eco-system.”
QFC is focused on becoming a hub for FinTech in the region. Already home to both leading European and Indian FinTech investors, QFC is also home to QPay, Qatar’s largest FinTech company.
In addition to its FinTech services provider license that enables FinTech’s easy access to Qatar’s lucrative market, QFC is soon going to launch its ‘FinTech Circle’, a co-workspace for qualifying FinTechs free of charge for 12 months, which will enable Fintech communities and talents to network with large institutions and corporates as well as foster joint collaboration.
Speaking on the occasion, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) CEO Abdulaziz Al Khalifa said, “The launch of QDB’s FinTech Incubator and Accelerator Programs is a great milestone. These programmes are set to further consolidate Qatar’s position as a global FinTech leader and create a vibrant ecosystem that is attractive for international investors, especially those from the United States.”
FinTEx Executive Director Randy Rivera said, “We actively work with many international organisations to match talent with opportunity and what is going on in Qatar fits as an attractive platform not just for the fintech involved but also for Qatari and regional markets.”
“The design of these programmes reflects thoughtfulness, broad participation, and commitment of the right mix of leaders who can affect change and attract the talent to make that change uniquely impactful, not just to the market, but to the regional fintech community as well.”
Qatar has continued to build a strong entrepreneurial sector and a competitive business climate capable of developing local SMEs on one hand and attracting foreign SMEs on the other. As a result, Qatar has advanced 18 spots in the national level of entrepreneurial activity, securing the 15th rank globally and second in the MENA region for the Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) index.
“As an experienced international fintech investor, we believe that Qatar provides a promising environment and set of opportunities for Fintech growth,” Anthemis Founder and CEO Amy Nauiokas said. “We look forward to solidifying some key relationships in Qatar as Anthemis further builds our MENA strategy,” Nauiokas said.
“Qatar has demonstrated an incredible synergy among entities in the pursuit of becoming a global leader in FinTech,” said Qatar-US Business Council Managing Director Mohammed Barakat. “Considering Qatar’s large payment processing and remittance market and its strategy to become a regional gateway for a huge market, I foresee rapid growth in Qatar’s FinTech sector,” Barakat said.

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