UAE: Abu Dhabi is joining the regional push in scaling up Islamic fintech measures to boost financial inclusivity as key Shariah finance jurisdictions race to gain an edge in the international financial landscape.
Together with the Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation (RFI Foundation), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) will work on attracting, nurturing and promoting fintech for Islamic and ethically-aligned financial institutions under its Reglab program. This new partnership comes on the heels of Dubai International Financial Center's vocal commitment to the Islamic fintech sector by aligning itself with the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center for joint initiatives.
"We are optimistic that this partnership with ADGM, building on the regulatory environment they have created in Abu Dhabi, can encourage and support emerging fintech companies to adopt ethical, responsible and Islamic approaches," said Blake Goud, CEO of RFI Foundation.
In a statement to IFN, RFI Foundation explained that the partnership with ADGM establishes an open platform for both parties to share expertise and knowledge as well as to create new initiatives to bolster the fintech ecosystem for the MENA region. This includes bringing to live ideas by allowing new concepts and products to be tested within a conducive environment.
Fintech investments and developments are mostly concentrated in the US and European markets; however, the GCC is playing catch-up. Markets such as Bahrain, Dubai and the UAE have respectively created their own programs to incubate and facilitate the development of fintech start-ups, putting in place the building blocks for a comprehensive fintech ecosystem through regulatory sandboxes, accelerator programs and the like. Islamic fintech is a unique proposition these players are advocating, with EY estimating that by tapping the Shariah-conscious segment using fintech, the region's banking customer base could more than double from 100 million to 250 million by 2021.
Financial Institutions and Corporate Sukuk: A Correspondent Report
Sentiment remains generally positive despite Dana Gas saga The biggest story in the Sukuk space recently was the announcement from UAE-based Dana Gas that it will not redeem its US$700 million outstanding Sukuk on maturity in October. The company's CEO, in a call with Sukukholders, reportedly reiterated the claim that the company's Sukuk facility was no longer Shariah compliant. It is understood that the London High Court will hear the case in September.