UAE’s Ministry of Economy and SCA unveil FinTech Megathon 2021

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) has teamed up with the market regulator Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to launch the ‘FinTech Megathon 2021′ program to solve the challenges faced by the industry in the Emirates.

The goal of the program is to bring together people who work in FinTech startups. It will run on the FinX22 platform of Dubai-based Fintech Galaxy until February of next year.

The Megathon will feature workshops, training sessions, and two ‘hackathons,’ in which companies are given a set period of time to come up with an innovation to address an industry challenge. Mr. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy stated that the event’s goals include fostering innovation, promoting coordination between public and private institutions, and encouraging startups to actively participate in the development of innovative solutions.

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

As the pandemic fueled a larger need for online and contactless payments, regional FinTech companies have gained prominence.

According to a report by Middle and North Africa (MENA) Research Partners, the number of FinTechs in the region is expected to grow to 1,845 by 2022, an increase of 230 percent compared with 559 companies in 2015.

Mr. Al Marri remarked that “the SCA’s initiatives are centered 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.”

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], finance for small and medium enterprises, financial inclusion, and regulatory technology.

The entities said in a joint statement that it will encourage FinTechs, financial institutions, regulators, and other ecosystem partners to collaborate and crowdsource to produce prototypes.

Ms. Maryam Al Suwaidi, Acting Chief Executive Officer SCA pointed out that “the SCA realizes 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.”

The project’s strategic partners include the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emaar, and the United Arab Bank.

Ms. Mirna Sleiman, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Fintech Galaxy concluded that “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.”

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