MasterCard’s white-paper titled 'Future of FinTech: smart, scalable, collaborative', which was released during the Gitex 2022 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, said FinTech offerings are “agile and able to identify opportunities”, often during the times of unfavourable events such as the 2008 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the major reasons behind FinTech growth in the Middle East and Turkey region, the study found, is the “collaborative approach”. It added that FinTech solutions in these markets work to resolve the pain points of consumers and merchants in a very “localised framework”.
The report revealed that the FinTech start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa region recorded a 183 per cent growth in funding last year, the highest yearly growth rate over the past five years. Majority of the FinTech funding deals (32 per cent) and funding capital (49 per cent) across Mena were focused on the UAE market.
“The FinTech landscape is accelerating at an unprecedented speed to transform economies and the exchange of value … new players are continuously emerging, their scaling strategies are maturing and investments are accelerating,” said Ngozi Megwa, senior vice president for digital partners and enablers for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at MasterCard.
“Yet, the core mission of FinTech companies remains the same — they strive to empower consumers, increase financial access, and help bring the unbanked and underbanked into the digital economy,” said Ms Megwa.
The global FinTech market is projected to reach $332.5 billion by 2028, from $112.5bn in 2021, said MasterCard, adding that there are more than 470 FinTech unicorns globally, with 40 of them added in the first quarter of this year. The Mena region alone is expected to have 45 FinTech unicorns by 2030, a tenth of the global number.
FinTech regulations include multiple facets, such as payments, remittances, equity crowdfunding, e-money and peer-to-peer lending.
The UAE, the Arab world’s second largest economy, has regulations for all the five facets and leads in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which regulate four out of the five facets, the study found. Egypt and Turkey have regulations in place for three of these facets.
“Regulation, though, is still very localised, as the primary concern of regulators is to protect consumers in their own countries. Very few country regulators have forged collaborative partnerships with their counterparts in neighbouring countries, to allow companies from one country to operate seamlessly in the other,” MasterCard said.
The report said it is important for local FinTech companies to get global corporations on board. This enables them to resolve several cross-border issues related to regulation, payments (making and receiving them) and raising funding rounds.