By Emma Okonji
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with professional services company Accenture, to foster innovation in the financial services industry globally.
Under the MoU, FinTech Hive at DIFC â€“ the first financial technology accelerator in the MEASA region will collaborate with Accentureâ€™s FinTech Innovation Labs in New York, London and Hong Kong, to share resources and knowledge on the latest research and trends in financial technology. The agreement will help build long-term relationships across the acceleratorâ€™s international initiatives, further cementing synergies between the DIFC and Accenture.
Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, Arif Amiri, and Senior Managing Director in Accentureâ€™s Financial Services practice, Sushil Saluja, signed the memorandum of understanding.
In line with DIFC Growth Strategy 2024 and Dubai Vision 2021, FinTech Hive at DIFC fills an important void in the market by giving financial giants access to state-of-the art technologies to support their digital transformation while providing innovators with invaluable access to potential clients and investors.
According to Amiri, â€œThis agreement leverages DIFCâ€™s position as the top Fintech hub in the region and Accentureâ€™s expertise in shaping a world-class innovation platform. The UAEâ€™s position as a hub for financial institutions and for innovative talent gives the FinTech Hive at DIFC a competitive advantage for fostering FinTech growth. What sets us apart is our ability to harness the assets to grow Fintech locally that will ultimately create more jobs, attract investments and support the economy as a whole. By teaming up with Accentureâ€™s FinTech Innovation Labs from around the world, we aim to utilise this demand to support innovation and growth as well as strengthen Dubaiâ€™s position as one of the worldâ€™s top 10 FinTech hubs.â€
Saluja said: â€œWe are excited to further grow our fruitful partnership with the DIFC. Accenture will facilitate and create ties between the DIFC accelerator and our FinTech Innovation Labs in Europe, North America and Asia. In todayâ€™s hyper-connected world, this type of alliance is critical for maximising talent development and innovation. With surging demand for FinTech solutions and Dubaiâ€™s increasing presence on the global financial scene, we are confident that this international collaboration will generate incredible opportunities for the region.â€
The FinTech Innovation Labs are annual 12-week accelerator programs that bring together early-stage financial technology companies and the worldâ€™s leading financial institutions. Globally, the Labsâ€™ alumni companies have raised more than $1.07 billion in venture financing after participating in the programs.
DIFC has recently announced that the 2018 program, which opened for applications in May, will be expanded to include insurance, Islamic finance, and regulatory technology services. First Abu Dhabi Bank, Arab Bank and Noor Bank will join the program this year, with returning financial institutions to include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citigroup, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Standard Chartered, UAE Exchange, and Visa.
DIFC is one of the worldâ€™s top ten financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The Centre provides a world-class platform connecting the regionâ€™s markets with the economies of Europe, Asia and the Americas and facilitates growth in South-south trade and investment.