Dubai aims to boost Islamic finance digital capabilities

Fintech venture aims to ensure that Islamic finance will be compatible with greater range of technology platforms

Two of the largest financial bodies in the United Arab Emirates have joined forces in an initiative to develop a range of new fintech solutions to enhance the digital capabilities of Islamic finance.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) will collaborate on the project with prominent regional hub the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The initiative will form part of Dubai’s efforts to become the ‘capital of Islamic economy’ by 2024.

Business accelerator the Fintech Hive at DIFC – launched earlier this year – will harness innovators’ talents and skills to deliver the new solutions.

As part of the MoU, the DIFC announced, experts from institutions such as Emirates Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank will mentor participants in the field of Islamic finance technology.

In addition, there will be a special event to honour finalists that will also offer insights into the role of the Islamic finance – plus the impact that technology is having upon the sector.

DIFC Authority CEO Arif Amiri noted: “With the global Muslim population expected to grow by 73% between 2010 and 2050, there will undoubtedly be a subsequent increase in the demand for Islamic finance services both in the region and beyond.

“We are continuously investing in our world-class ecosystem at DIFC – and that includes an infrastructure that is compliant and in line with best practice for Islamic finance institutions.”

Amiri added: “Fintech Hive at DIFC is committed to revolutionising financial technologies across all core sub-sectors, and Islamic finance is no exception. This MoU is an important and progressive step for fintech, for the Islamic economy and for Fintech Hive at DIFC.”

DIEDC CEO Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar said: “According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2016/17, commissioned by DIEDC, Islamic finance assets now valued at around US$2 trillion are projected to reach US$3.5 trillion by 2021.

“However, within the maturing Islamic economy landscape, several segments still need to be tapped. These include mobile banking and payment systems, as well as SME financing.”

He added: “We are confident the Fintech Hive at DIFC will go a long way towards developing these high-potential segments, and are committed to supporting the accelerator programme to guarantee its success.”

Read the full State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2016/17 here.

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