UAE’s Ministry of Economy teams up with SCA to launch FinTech Megathon 2021

The initiative aims to encourage start-ups to produce prototypes to address problems hindering the FinTech industry

Dignitaries during the online launch of Fintech Megathon 2021. Courtesy MoE
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The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has joined forces with markets regulator the Securities and Commodities Authority to launch a ‘FinTech Megathon 2021’ programme to solve challenges faced by the industry in the Emirates.

The project aims to bring together people working in FinTech start-ups. It will run on Dubai-based Fintech Galaxy's FinX22 platform until February next year.

The Megathon will include workshops, training sessions and two 'hackathons', where companies are given short periods of time to come up with an innovation to address an industry challenge. The aims of the event include fostering innovation, promoting co-ordination between public and private institutions and encouraging start-ups to actively engage in the development of innovative solutions, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, said.

“Such initiatives complement the MoE’s ongoing efforts to enhance the competitiveness of the national economy and satisfy sustainable development requirements,” he said.

Regional FinTech companies have grown in prominence as the pandemic fuelled a greater demand for online and contactless payments.

The number of FinTechs in the region is set to grow to 1,845 by 2022, an increase of 230 per cent compared with 559 companies in 2015, according to a report by Mena Research Partners.


“[The] SCA’s initiatives are centred on establishing concepts and methodologies related to investing in technology and infrastructure, which serve network and information security, in addition to implementing a comprehensive digital strategy and using advanced technological solutions, particularly FinTech and blockchain,” said Mr Bin Touq.

Themed ‘reimagining the future of inclusive financial services’ the Megathon is focused on developing technologies to improve eight areas – asset management, digital assets, crowdfunding, foreign exchange, e-KYC [know your customer], financing for small and medium enterprises, financial inclusion and regulatory technology.

It will encourage FinTechs, financial institutions, regulators and other ecosystem partners to collaborate and crowdsource to produce prototypes, the entities said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“[The] SCA realises the importance of digital financial systems in strengthening the capability of markets, businesses, governments, institutions and communities to withstand future shocks and is proud to introduce an initiative that can bring us closer to achieving this end,” Maryam Al Suwaidi, acting chief executive of the SCA, said.

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emaar and the United Arab Bank are involved in the project as strategic partners.

“We are very excited to be part of this collaborative and creative initiative … our expertise and widespread network across the Arab FinTech industry enable us to bring together FinTech start-ups, financial institutions, partners and stakeholders,” Mirna Sleiman, founder and chief executive of Fintech Galaxy, said.