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"We Envision Dubai As A Global Leader In Fintech": DIFC Innovation Hub CEO Mohammad Alblooshi On The Drivers For This Year's Dubai FinTech Summit On May 6-7, 2024 Organized by Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai FinTech Summit 2024 is expected to bring together 8,000 decision-makers, over 300 thought leaders, and more than 200 exhibitors.

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DIFC Innovation Hub CEO Mohammad Alblooshi

The second annual edition of the Dubai FinTech Summit will be held at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, on May 6-7, 2024, with it being staged under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, and President of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Organized by DIFC, the Dubai FinTech Summit is expected to bring together 8,000 decision-makers, over 300 thought leaders, and more than 200 exhibitors to discuss the latest innovations and challenges and showcase cutting-edge technologies. In line with the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) to position Dubai among the top four global financial hubs by 2033 and DIFC's 2030 strategy to shape the future of finance and innovation, the second edition of the Dubai FinTech Summit 2024 is designed to encourage cross-border collaboration and innovation which are considered pivotal to transforming the global fintech sector.

Commenting on DIFC's role in spearheading this event, Mohammad Alblooshi, CEO at DIFC Innovation Hub, says, "As the leading global financial center in the MEASA region, DIFC provides a unique platform for the Summit where regional voices are heard, local innovations are showcased, and unique challenges are addressed. We leverage our extensive network and expertise to connect fintech players with regional opportunities and resources. This strengthens Dubai's role as a gateway, enabling cross-border collaboration and driving fintech innovation across the region and beyond."

From Alblooshi's perspective, fintech companies are playing a transformative role in driving financial progress across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region by leveraging technology to innovate. "Their impact extends beyond technological advancements, fostering economic growth, breaking down traditional barriers to international trade and remittances, enhancing experiences and paving the way for a more inclusive and efficient financial ecosystem," Alblooshi notes. "According to Innovate Finance, the UAE saw total investment in fintechs soar by 92% in 2023 compared to 2022. This was partly due to more fintech-friendly regulations, as well as greater adoption of digital banking and other tools in the region. Investments in fintech, projected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.2% to US$949 billion from 2022 to 2030, are further accelerating the ongoing pace of fintech innovation globally and in Dubai, which offers access to high-growth emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Western Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Dubai FinTech Summit 2024 will feature an impressive line-up of distinguished local and international speakers, such as more than 20 governors of financial institutions, including H.E. Essa Kazim, Governor, DIFC; H.E. Dr. Philmnisi, Governor, Central Bank of Eswatini; H.E. Cheaserey, Governor National Bank of Cambodia; H.E. Martin Galstyan, Governor, Central Bank of Armenia; H.E. John Rwangombwa, Governor, National Bank of Rwanda, and H.E. Prof. Edward Scicluna, Governor, Central Bank of Malta. Other notable speakers include H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Cabinet Member and UAE Minister of Economy; H.E. Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai and H.E. Faisal Belhoul, Vice Chairman of Dubai Chambers, and Chairman of J&F Holding.

Related: This Year's Edition Of The Leaders In Fintech Awards, Happening On June 27, 2024, Is Now Open For Nominations

From left to right: Ali Imran, Chief Operating Officer, Commercial Bank of Dubai; Mohammad Alblooshi, CEO at DIFC Innovation Hub; Hemant Julka, Group Head Digital Innovation and Partnerships, Emirates NBD; and Rami Khalil, General Manager UAE and KSA, Dyna.Ai at a press conference for Dubai FinTech Summit 2024. Image courtesy Dubai FinTech Summit.

The key themes for the Dubai FinTech Summit 2024 will be finance renaissance, eco-finance and impact, investment vanguard, regulatory frameworks, global financial dynamics and fintech 2.0. Speaking about how these themes relate to the UAE and the region, Alblooshi says, "We are witnessing a rapid evolution in fintech, with trends like open banking, decentralized finance (DeFi), and the metaverse shaping the future of fintech. According to Mordor Intelligence, as the financial technology sector continues to increase worldwide, the UAE has emerged as a hub for fintech innovations. The Middle East region is the fastest-growing real-time payments market globally, with transactions in the region expected to grow from $675 million in 2022 to $2.6 billion by 2027, representing a CAGR of 30.6%, according to the 2023 Prime Time for Real Time report, published by ACI Worldwide."

"The UAE stands at the forefront of real-time payment innovations in the Middle East," he adds. "The nation's implementation of real-time payment systems signifies not just a technological advancement but a fundamental shift in economic infrastructure. According to the ACI report, 37.2 million real-time transactions were made in the UAE in 2022, and this number is expected to increase to 146 million by 2027, representing a five-year CAGR of 31.5%. The Summit will delve into these trends, offering insights into how they will redefine banking, investment, and financial services in the coming years." Plus, Alblooshi points out that the fintech industry is currently at a pivotal crossroads, facing challenges such as regulatory complexity and technological disruption, while also embracing opportunities in digital banking, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. "The Summit is designed to address these dichotomies, facilitating dialogues and workshops that focus on innovative solutions, regulatory harmonization, and leveraging technology for financial inclusivity and resilience, thus fostering a robust and sustainable fintech ecosystem," Alblooshi adds.

The Dubai FinTech Summit is also set to function as a vibrant ecosystem for fintech startups and entrepreneurs, offering them exposure, networking opportunities, and access to funding. "We are dedicated to nurturing these innovators, providing them with the resources and support they need to thrive," Alblooshi says. "Our accelerator programs, mentorship opportunities, and talent acquisition platforms provide startups and individuals with the resources and guidance they need to succeed. This nurtures a vibrant and diverse fintech community in Dubai." Indeed, a key highlight of the Dubai FinTech Summit 2024 will be the grand finale of the FinTech World Cup (FWC). The champions of the FinTech World Cup will be announced on the second day of the summit with the winners securing an investment of up to $1 million.

Impact certainly seems to be the name of the game at this year's Dubai FinTech Summit, and Alblooshi believes the event's impact extends beyond the fintech sector. "The demand for fintech services has grown significantly in the last few years, powered by digital technologies and innovation across sectors," he explains. "We have an optimistic outlook about the growth of the fintech landscape. It is grounded in the UAE's continuous efforts to facilitate an innovation-driven economy, supported by state-of-the-art infrastructure, a forward-thinking regulatory environment, and a vibrant ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurial ventures. Increasing adoption of digital payments, the emergence of blockchain technologies, and the growing interest in sustainable and inclusive financial services is driving the next wave of financial solutions." And when it comes to the long-term goal for all of that this year's Dubai FinTech Summit is set to showcase, Alblooshi draws it back to the forward-thinking aspirations of the Emirate of Dubai. "We envision Dubai as a global leader in fintech," he declares. "Our aim is to continually support innovation, attract top talent and investment, and maintain a cutting-edge regulatory framework. We look forward to delivering an exceptional event that will inspire and empower the fintech community."

Related: Entrepreneur Middle East Publishes Special Report Looking Into The State Of Fintech In The MENA Region

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