With a new strategy and supporting programs, the fintech industry could be one of the largest engines of Qatar’s economic growth in the coming years. Qatar Central Bank’s (QCB) National FinTech Strategy aims to enable local startups and create a favorable ecosystem that spurs international fintechs to choose Qatar as their launching pad for the global market.
“Qatar is taking big steps to become a global FinTech hub, by establishing the Qatar FinTech Hub. This creates a sound ecosystem for incubating domestic FinTechs and provides an enabling environment for foreign FinTechs to invest and grow in the region,” noted the report titled ‘Qatar to the World: A report on the state of FinTech in Qatar’ released by Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH).
QFTH has the potential to develop a vibrant entrepreneurial and FinTech ecosystem. It can support the growth of Qatar’s local FinTechs and provide investment options for local investors and FinTechs seeking funding
QFTH was established by QDB in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and QCB’s FinTech Strategy to build on Qatar’s success in the financial sector and enhance the country’s role in the field of financial innovation.
As a part of the strategy, QFTH was established with the vision of making Qatar a globally recognized hub that connects other like-minded hubs, organizations, and regulators from across the world and is at the forefront of FinTech’s future.
This creates a sound ecosystem for incubating domestic FinTechs and provides an enabling environment for foreign fintech companies to invest and grow in the region.
There are several factors that would help in the rapid growth of FinTech in Qatar. One of the most important factors is the supportive regulatory frame.
Authorities have enhanced the regulatory framework to help FinTechs establish themselves and function well. Qatar is actively working to ensure consistency with international standards, bring best practices to the country, and drive a country-specific regulatory focus.
Access to capital is another important factor. “Qatar offers diverse sources of funding, including venture capital (VC), regulator backed Accelerator and Incubator programs, and angel investors. QDB facilitates funding through its $100.3m VC fund and there is a lot of potential to source funds from other countries,” said the report. The current funding structure of QFTH, Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) can be used to attract funding for FinTechs.
Qatar has identified four areas of focus to promote FinTech growth—Payment technology, RegTech, Islamic Finance, and SMEs. In 2020, QFTH ran its Incubator and Accelerator programs, i.e., the Wave 1. These programs facilitate entrepreneurs with innovative and cutting-edge FinTech ideas to accelerate their journey.
Qatar has taken an integrated approach to create a sustainable and globally competitive FinTech ecosystem in the country.
In December 2019, Qatar announced its National FinTech Strategy, followed by the establishment of Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) in April 2020, which supports FinTech development efforts led by Qatar Central Bank in addition to managing both incubators and Accelerator programs.
To further provide practical support, Qatar established Fintech Circle, a coworking space, and facilitated free commercial registration and licensing for the first year of a startup’s operation.
Originally on www.thepeninsulaqatar.com