Daniel Gould, Deputy CEO, AGTB 121210
Daniel Gould, Deputy CEO, AGTB, at Abu Dhabi Global Market. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Fintech start-ups in the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region have received $237 million in investments since 2015, accounting for 10 per cent of all venture investments in the region according to a newly released report.

The data-driven report was compiled jointly between Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and MAGniTT, which revealed the UAE as the largest fintech hub for new start-ups as well as fintech deals and investments.

“Digitalisation of financial services is happening at an unprecedented pace. From payments, banking, financial advisory, capital market and insurance, deployment of financial technology have reimagined the financial services sector resulting in innovation, efficiency and greater financial inclusion,” said Richard Teng, chief executive officer of Financial Services Regulatory Authority at ADGM, highlighting the growing role of fintech within the financial services sector. “Having a keen insight of the region’s fintech growth and development will enable policymakers, regulators and investors to introduce better initiatives that support the industry,” he added, pointing to the benefits of having such a report, the first of its kind to be published.

“As an international finance centre and financial regulator, this report reveals the needs of the industry and indicates how we can better attract and secure more investments and funding to support the fintech ecosystem,” he said.

Among some of the key highlights of the report was the investments being made in the Mena’s fintech industry, which revealed that a total of 181 deals have been made since 2015 on new fintech companies with 51 of those deals coming in 2019.

The UAE in 2019 accounted for 47 per cent of all fintech deals being made, as well as coming first (50 per cent) in overall funding for fintech start-ups during the last five years.

In terms of the fintech landscape in the Mena region, the report showed a healthy growth in start-ups forming, which in 2018 reached a high of 310, with the UAE once again topping the list when it comes to having the most fintech start-ups (46 per cent).

Comparing the fintech sector with other industries, the report found that fintech was the top industry in terms of deals being made in 2018 (97), coming above other key sectors such as e-commerce, food and beverage, IT, health care and education.

On overall funding, the fintech industry came fourth during 2018-2019 accounting for $74 million in investments. The report highlighted that most of this funding was coming through early stage accelerator programmes.

Fintech companies with a focus on payments and remittances topped the list in deals being made, accounting for 45 per cent of all deals in 2019.