Dubai is ideally positioned to serve as a digital financial inclusion hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa), says a new report released on Monday.
Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said with an approximate population of 3 billion, the Measa region sits on a large pool of opportunities that are still untapped owing to the lack of financial access.
"Delivering financial services to more people across the region has become a necessity that Dubai and the UAE as a whole are perfectly positioned to contribute to. The world-class infrastructure and innovation ecosystem that Dubai has built and continues to enhance provide an enabling environment for technology and disruptive businesses to create more inclusive solutions and services for the entire region," Amiri said at the launch of 'The Case for an Innovation Hub to Facilitate MEASA Financial Inclusion' report which was published by Oliver Wyman in collaboration with DIFC.
He added that the DIFC has made important strides towards nurturing an integrated ecosystem that can unlock the potential of emerging trends such as FinTech and InsurTech in the region. Amiri revealed that this will not only transform the way the financial services industry operates, but will also create a positive wave of social impact and economic gains across the Measa countries.
"This is why we remain focused on continuing our efforts to foster financial innovation in the region and lead the necessary evolution for greater financial inclusion for its people."
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The free zone has over 1,853 active registered companies and a FinTech community of over 50 firms and numerous FinTech-related clients.
The report found that 1.7 billion people still lack access to formal financial services. Nearly 50 per cent of all financially excluded and underserved individuals are currently situated in the Measa region. An average of 48 per cent of the working adult population owns a financial account in the region compared to a global average of 69 per cent.
"In a financially inclusive environment, individuals and businesses can conveniently access a variety of financial services at low cost and are offered products that are tailored to their specific needs. For a significant share of the population across Measa, this is currently not possible. While many efforts are underway across the region, these are often heavily fragmented and make a large-scale advancement challenging," said Greg Rung, partner, financial services, Oliver Wyman.
By Waheed Abbas
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