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Report explores how the Middle East can drive financial future

Report explores how the Middle East can drive financial future

MEASA is expected to be an increasing source of supply and demand for deeper and broader financial services in the years to come

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region (MEASA), has released a new DIFC-commissioned report developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled The Next Frontier: The future of finance in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

MEASA is home to approximately 3 billion people, a little under half of the global population, and is expected to be an increasing source of supply and demand for deeper and broader financial services in the years to come.

Supplemented by largely populations without access to banks – particularly among women and young adults – growing mobile connectivity and increasingly prominent finance and investment hubs, the opportunity across MEASA has never been so promising.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Office of DIFC Authority, said: “This report effectively illustrates the shifting dynamics shaping the future of finance across the MEASA region, demonstrating how this part of the world is pivotal to the sector’s development.

“As the world reaps the benefits of the digital age, the financial sector in emerging and developing economies is well positioned to succeed by embracing a combination of technology, innovation and smart policy making.

“This is true whether the conversation is about Islamic finance, wealth and asset management or financial inclusion. As the leading financial centre in the region, DIFC is catalysing this shift by serving as an established platform for firms to tap into transformational opportunities throughout MEASA.”

There are three major sections in the report covering the state of finance, the future of finance and the enablement of finance through regulation and best practices – within the broader MEASA environment.

Among the key findings, the report reveals there are significant opportunities in traditional and non-traditional financial services especially for women and youth.

It also notes that the drive towards a cashless economy will be difficult but very beneficial, and explores the huge prospects Blockchain has to offer, especially in wholesale banking.

Finally, it highlights the potential opportunities for the ‘missing middle’ of retail investors and medium-sized businesses, the need for a shift in approach towards Islamic finance and how government and regulators can drive financial innovation.

The insights from the report are a complementary prelude to the Global Financial Forum (GFF) to be hosted by the DIFC on November 14 2017, where over 300 prominent executives from across the world of finance will be in attendance.

Several of the contributing voices to the report are from organisations that will have a speaking presence at GFF – including Abraaj Group, Standard Chartered and World Bank.

Visit www.difc.ae/newsroom/publications to download the full report.