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Fintech is helping DIFC grow faster than Dubai’s economy

In 2022, DIFC-based fintech firms raised over $615 million in funding.

Fintech is helping DIFC grow faster than Dubai’s economy
[Source photo: Pankaj Kirdatt/ Fast Company Middle East]

Fintech has become a key growth driver for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) — it has helped it grow faster than Dubai’s overall growth rate, a senior official said. 

At the welcome address at the Dubai Fintech Summit 2023, H.E. Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, said that the financial center is a driver of growth for the emirate’s economy and a significant contributor to its GDP. 

“It has been growing five folds faster than the average Dubai GDP growth over the last ten years, contributing around 6% to its GDP,” Kazim said. “A key growth driver over the past three years has been fintech and innovation companies contributing over 27% of the center’s overall client growth.”

Kazim pointed out that the steady growth of the fintech sector can be credited to DIFC’s supportive and agile regulatory framework, which offered access to funding, sandbox environments, and resources for startups and companies alike. 

In 2022, DIFC-based fintech firms raised over $615 million in funding, according to DIFC FinTech Hive’s 2022 Report. The fintech sector is expected to double from over $135.9 billion in 2021 to nearly $266.9 billion in 2027 across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. 

Kazim also discussed how AI is permeating the finance sector. “[AI] has become one of the most popular ways of innovating within the world of finance. Concepts like embedded finance, open banking, and blockchain have taken the world of banking and finance by storm.”

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, and President of the DIFC, opened the inaugural edition of the Dubai Fintech Summit. 

Sheikh Maktoum commented, “With Dubai providing one of the world’s best ecosystems to foster the growth of fintech innovation, it has become one of the leading hubs for driving value creation in the sector.”

In addition, the need for governments to develop regulatory frameworks for Web3 assets early on was also discussed at a panel discussion at the summit. According to Grand View Research, its market size in 2023 is $2.25 billion, and its revenue forecast in 2030 is expected to be $33.53 billion. 

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