Dubai Ups the Stakes in Fintech / Mobile Payments Development

July 31, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Perhaps one of the greatest things about mobile payments, and financial technology (fintech) in general, is that it is a truly global enterprise. While much of our attention is focused on firms with a hefty connection to the United States like Apple, Facebook, and so on, there are plenty of firms the world over looking into ways to improve the movement of cash from one place to another. We recently received word straight from the Government of Dubai offering insight into one such operation, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC).

The numbers were actually pretty impressive, especially when you consider that Dubai itself has a population of around three million, and the entire United Arab Emirates is about three times that figure. Right now, the reports noted, the DIFC has fully 2,289 firms operating under its purview. That represents a 14 percent gain over the same time in 2018, and is up seven percent just since 2018 ended. The gain in companies also yielded over 660 new jobs, which brings the total workforce in the DIFC to just over 24,000.

Additionally, the overall fintech ecosystem in the DIFC has doubled in size so far, with not only over 200 companies involved directly in fintech, but of that 200, 80 are specifically licensed as fintech firms in the region. Further gains are also likely to emerge as the DIFC has received 425 applications for the third round of the FinTech Hive accelerator program, a number that’s up 42 percent from the same time last year and around three-fold from 2017.

The numbers may not seem all that impressive, but again, we’re talking about a country of nine million people here. On a percentage basis, it’s actually quite a substantial gain. It proves that Dubai is really pushing fintech development hard, and that should be a worthwhile development. Mobile payments are really catching on in developing economies, and much of the Middle East / Africa region commonly qualifies. These developments could be the next go-to technology for much of the area.

Dubai has made some real advances in a lot of fields, and fintech is no different. Mobile payments draws development the world over, and this is just one more example.