Last week, we got to meet and learn about many of the Fintech players disrupting the region. Filled with exciting panels and discussions covering everything from Embedded Payments to Crypto, Regtech, Web 3.0, and more, the event gave us some invaluable insights into the impressive evolution of Fintech across the MENA region!
Check out our highlights reel to see how the 2 days went for us:
#DIFCFintechWeek, organized by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is a thought-leadership-driven, business-focused summit that deep dives into the latest challenges and technology trends in the Middle East financial services sector.
The event featured keynotes from prominent figures such as H.E Essa Kazi, the Governor of DIFC; H.E. Hammas Bu Amim, the President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce; and Arif Amiri, the CEO of DIFC. The keynotes emphasized Dubai's continued commitment to enabling an innovative and supportive ecosystem for the financial technology sector.
He also officially announced the launch of the region's first Open Finance Lab in DIFC.
The lab will collaborate with banks, fintech players, regulators, and the industry, with the potential to unlock the next wave of growth for the sector. It will also promote a greater understanding of how the open finance data gathered will create more opportunities through the application of emerging technologies and new data-driven innovations.
Exciting Panel Discussions Summarized 🤩
(So that you stay in the loop even if you weren't at the event)
Faisal Al Haroun, the Group SVP of Tap Payments, spoke in a panel alongside experts from Cashew Payments, Noon Payments, Magnati, Paymob, and MENA Fintech Association discussing Payment innovations across MENA over the years.
Key Points from the Panel on "Payment Innovation":
1. SMEs continue to be the biggest drivers of cash-intensive payments but the digital transformation initiatives led by governments across the region and innovations within the payment industry are changing that.
2. The demand for BNPL in GCC has increased exponentially over the years driven by the low penetration of credit cards in the region and the flexibility it gives customers.
3. MADA and high mobile penetration is helping accelerate digital payments in Saudi Arabia.
4. The Fintech sector needs to be more collaborative and built on partnerships to create a better ecosystem for businesses within the MENA region since one company cannot solve all the issues within payments.
5. Open banking, Crypto, and Wallets are disrupting the fintech space by opening up new markets and providing a more seamless experience for customers.
We also had partners within the Tap ecosystem in some interesting panels about the future of BNPL and crypto across the region. Here are some key points they brought up in the panels:
Hosam Al Arab, the CEO of Tabby @ the panel "BNPL Evolution: An Innovation"
"BNPL has quickly risen to the first or second most popular payment method in any checkout today. This is due to BNPL being a necessity in MENA, where the credit card penetration is low and so it acts as an alternative to credit cards. In comparison, BNPL is a luxury that's nice to have in the US where the credit card penetration is high and customers are already heavily reliant on that."
Joseph Dallago, Co-founder, and CEO of Rain @ the panel "DeFi and Crypto: The bridge to the future of Finance"
"One of my favourite examples of the power of DeFi is the Constitution DAO or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations which is effectively a legal entity in the cloud. Tens of thousands of people heard about the original copy of the US Constitution being sold at an auction at Sotheby's so they all organized together, created, and funded the DAO, raising nearly USD 50 million to buy the constitution in the space of a week. They ended up being outbid though and when that happened, the organizers redistributed all the funds instantly back to the investors. This level of speed or flexibility is just not possible through the traditional finance system."
Talal Tabbaa, Co-founder and CEO of CoinMENA @ the panel "DeFi and Crypto: The bridge to the future of Finance"
"The benefits of Crypto from a payments perspective can be seen more clearly in countries with unstable governments, like Russia or Lebanon, where businesses face a lot of issues accepting and processing payouts due to barricades from schemes such as Visa, acquiring banks, issuing banks, payment processors, etc. Through the widespread usage of crypto, accepting online payments and receiving settlements becomes a lot easier for businesses in these countries. Crypto also reduces the barriers when an individual or a company wants to take loans, removing the subjectivity and focusing instead on the health of the collateral they provide.”
The event gave us a great insight into the Fintech sector across MENA today and the huge amount of opportunity that still exists! If we've learned anything over the 2 days at #DIFCFintechWeek, it's that we are going to see some highly interesting developments over the next 5 years within MENA so keep your eyes peeled for that!