With FinTech Abu Dhabi 2019 at an end, Business FinTech takes a closer look at the top three takeaways from the event.
1. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s plan to connect Asia with Africa, Europe and Russia. It aims to do so via land and maritime networks to improve regional interactions, increase trade and stimulate economic growth.
The initiative highlights five major priorities: policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and connecting people.
Dia Haykal, Editor-in-Chief of MiT Technology Review acknowledge that this initiative will have a huge impact on the MENA region while Richard Teng, CEO ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority (UAE), noted that China’s relationship with the UAE is blossoming.
“The relationship has never been stronger with strategic ties on all levels,” said Teng. “UAE is China’s top investment destination in the region with bilateral trade expected to reach US$70 billion.”
2. Evolving trends
During the festival, Omar Christidis, Founder and CEO of ArabNet, discussed current challenges FinTech firms are facing including: regulations, client data sharing and open banking.
“Entities such as Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) are trying to harmonise regulations across countries so FinTechs can move quickly from market to market. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are part of GFIN, which shows how important these markets are.”
Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK and Steve Kirsch, CEO of Token explained that banking is going through a pioneering shift. Ferzo believes, regular bank accounts will be replaced with crypto accounts with Kirsch adding that digital currency is inevitable and a rare opportunity for unity and competitive advantages against threats.
3. Economic shift - ‘data is the new oil’
According to Mark Curtis, CFO at ADNOC, social innovation will empower the UAE to transform its economic reliance on oil to a knowledge economy. Curtis highlighted that, schools should have more internships and should pilot new ideas in order to get comfortable with making mistakes and moving on to create impactful changes. With fluctuations in oil prices and global economies shifting Mohamad Elewa, Partner at Grant Thornton also added that laying a solid foundation in colleges, schools and startups will be highly beneficial for the UAE in 10-20 years time.
FinTech Abu Dhabi in facts:
Image source: FinTech Abu Dhabi 2019