There’s a fintech surge in the Middle East, mainly driven by government initiatives and the broader digitalization trend. Countries in the region, especially UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain, are supporting the fintech ecosystem with initiatives ranging from free zones, such as theDubai International Financial Centre, and regulatory sandboxes, such as DIFC’s Innovation Testing License, Egypt fintech sandbox andSAMA regulatory sandbox in Saudia Arabia.
Now, Qatar is also catching up. The country recognizes the potential of fintech and has established initiatives to foster a strong and sustainable fintech ecosystem, according to PwC’s latest Qatar banking sector report.
Widespread ESG implementation is still evolving in the market, and climate risk management will still be challenging for most banks. “We expect further execution guidelines to be issued in the digital banking and fintech areas,” the report stated.
The report also reveals that banks in Qatar have reported gradual growth in balance sheet and financing portfolios. Earnings metrics, including gross income, operating income, and profit before tax, showcase growth and adaptability to the changing interest rate environment.
Initiatives like the Doha cloud region by Google Cloud and implementing OpenAI’s GPT technology in the Azure Qatar Cloud are empowering companies.
However, while embracing emerging technologies, the report said banks must also consider risk mitigation and regulatory policies for successful implementation.
The report said widespread ESG implementation is still evolving in the market, and climate risk management will still be challenging for most banks.
According to the report, banks in the country have been developing their digital capabilities by prioritizing customer-centric approaches and digital innovation.
Developing new digital products, embracing open banking, and establishing strategic partnerships with fintech companies are factors helping the country to strengthen its position in the fintech sector.
Ahmed al-Kiswani, Qatar Financial Services Sector Leader, PwC Middle East, said, “Qatar is strategically positioning itself as a leading fintech hub in the Middle East and a pioneer in digital transformation and sustainability within the financial services sector. We remain confident that the financial sector in Qatar is well placed to adapt to a changing financial environment and continue to grow.”