Qatar to see increased investment in FinTech; of global companies see Doha as a launching pad

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According to the Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), Doha’s mature financial services sector, coupled with national initiatives to support digitization across all sectors, is expected to boost investment in FinTech.
In Qatar’s fintech program, the focus has shifted from “B2C” to “B2B” offerings, particularly in peer-to-peer lending, e-commerce and merchant services, invoice financing, payments and trade finance.
“This paved the way for domestic fintechs,” said QFTH’s white paper on the state of the rapidly developing fintech industry in Qatar and the Middle East and North Africa region.
The recently launched incubator and accelerator programs and the upcoming regulatory sandbox make Qatar an attractive destination for international fintechs as well, the newspaper said, noting that many global companies such as Musaada, MyCash Money, PayFace , Sync and Oscar have chosen Qatar as their launching pad for the global market.
“Qatar’s fintech ambition is to become a global hub by promoting and empowering Qatari entrepreneurs and innovators and becoming the launching pad for their global expansion,” the report said.
Doha is actively working with global regulators (on central bank digital currency and centralized KYC utility) to ensure consistency with international standards, bring best practices to the country, and foster country-specific regulatory guidance, has t -he declares.
The white paper pointed out that Qatar has a mature financial services sector with 17 banks, including five conventional banks, four Islamic banks, seven branches of foreign banks, as well as a specialized development bank (QDB).
“Qatar’s mobile payment system creates a robust enabling environment for payments-oriented fintechs,” he said.
The drive to host a cashless FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the new Smart Cities Programs (TASMUs) are expected to drive digital adoption across the country, the QFTH newspaper said.
Emphasizing that collaborations between financial institutions and fintech players have a key role to play in the development of innovative models and increasing the reach of clients; he said a survey conducted by Wamda found that 88% of fintech entrepreneurs in the Mena region were already seeking or benefiting from partnerships.
“Such collaborations have started to take place in Qatar, which is a good indication of the maturity of financial services in the country,” the newspaper said.
Recently, fintechs also worked with Qatar Post to launch a fully integrated postal point of sale that allows customers to make cashless payments when receiving packages and other items through the post.
“As these collaborations increase, the reach of fintech services is expected to expand further,” he said.
Regarding collaboration between financial institutions and fintech, QFTH pointed out that Commercial Bank completed its blockchain-based open-account trade finance trial on the “Marco Polo” platform in January 2020.
He also said that Ahlibank Qatar had formed an alliance with Visa to foster innovation in payments. As part of the partnership, the companies will jointly launch card payment products and create advanced technology solutions to enhance the payment experience for Ahlibank customers.
Regarding the opportunities in the wider Middle East, the white paper indicates that fintech is at an early stage of development in the region, but it is an “attractive” destination for fintech due to its large size. young unbanked or underbanked population, high use of cash, and recent regulatory developments that encourage growth.
“The region’s fintechs are focusing on remittances, insurance and investment advice, and e-commerce is gaining ground,” he said.


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