Dubai: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) organised two sessions on the sidelines of the World Government Summit to discuss financial technology (FinTech) and innovation on Tuesday, according to a statement from the ministry.

Held in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the sessions are part of a the wider strategy by the MoF to support innovation in the financial sector.

The innovation session, which was attended by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, dealt with key issues including policy and the challenges that companies in the FinTech space are presented with.

Some of the challenges mentioned were access to financing, attracting top talent, and restrictive regulation. Much of the conversation pertained to enabling FinTech startups in the UAE.

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, highlighted the importance of the services provided by FinTech and the role of digital technological developments in enhancing financial services. He said, “The session reviewed the challenges and opportunities of FinTech and the importance of policies and authorities’ responses to developments in the sector. The session also reviewed achieving the required balance between risk management, misuse of technology and avoiding over-regulation, which may limit creativity.”

In January, the UAE Central Bank introduced a new regulatory framework dealing with financial technologies, including digital currencies.

Whilst the initial regulation released on January 1 appeared to ban the use of these currencies, a statement to Gulf News on February 1 from the Central Bank’s governor, Mubarak Al Mansouri, clarified the regulation, which had caused much concern.

He said that the regulation was not intended to cover virtual currencies, such as BitCoin. In addition to Al Tayer and Lagarde, the innovation session was also attended by representatives from Careem, BitOasis, and companies in the renewable and military technology sectors from Abu Dhabi, among others.