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The Middle East region only accounts for 1% of global Fintech investments. But things are changing. There has been a recent surge in both Fintech and forex trading in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region since 2017. Based on the latest industry statistics, the Fintech market in MEA is projected to reach $3.45 billion by the year 2026.

By 2022, it is predicted that over 800 Fintech companies offering financial services in digital payments, open banking, and smart lending will raise venture capital of over $2 billion in the Middle East. A major factor that is driving Fintech innovations towards digital-first solutions in the region is that 50% of the 450 million people are under the age of 25.

As a result, we are witnessing significant growth of the Middle East region as a hub for Fintech for both investors and tech innovators. Besides traditional financial players, non-financial businesses are also beginning to offer value through digital services in the form of embedded finance or Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings.

The growing potential of Fintech and Forex trading in the MEA was evident from the events at the 2022 iFX EXPO. Here is what the attending FYNXT team members saw at this event.

The iFX EXPO in Dubai

The 2022 International Forex Expo (or iFX) was held in Dubai in Feb 2021. Among the largest exhibitions of financial services in the world, the event brings together the best players in this industry domain including financial companies, financial technology providers, insurance providers, and much more.

Talking at this international event, Aeby Samuel CEO of FYNXT said, “With Dubai today recognized as one of the world’s top ten Fintech hubs, and number one in the region, created to bring cutting-edge financial services technology to the MEASA Markets. We met up with a few strategic partners to grow our network here. One partner has agreed to help us list our products in MetaQuote’s marketplace.”

The FYNXT product team displayed the benefits of connecting the FYNXT platforms (including the client manager, IB portal, and managed accounts) to the MT4/MT5 forex trading platform that is popular in the Middle East region. Other capabilities that were demonstrated included:

  • Automating manual and tedious administrative processes.

  • Managing back-office operations efficiently.

  • Customizing built-in product modules using low-code implementation.

The 2022 iFX Expo highlighted the prevailing digitalization trend in the MEA financial sector, with many leading players switching from manual to automated solutions. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many business leaders in the financial sector have realized the value of automating their processes and providing a unified customer experience across all their offered services.

Talking about the customer response at the event, Muthu Kumaran, the Chief Product Officer of FYNXT says the “most enquired products are IB portal and managed accounts.” He also talks about the “advantages of unifying all the customer touchpoints in one digital solution, which is faster, cost-effective, and professional.” He believes that FYNXT’s experience of working with Forex and CFD brokers makes it more efficient and engaging with financial services customers. He adds that there was a growing interest in “testing the FYNXT platform as it did not require much IT development resources.”

Fintech in MEA – Opportunities and Challenges

Since 2017, Fintech and the financial services sector have provided the impetus for the Middle East to build technology-led offerings that allow a move away from being an oil-dependent economy and reliance on massive government spending. Financial policymakers and regulators have been implementing forward-looking policies about financial policies.

While the global share of the Fintech industry in the Middle East is low, the sector is growing at a CAGR of 30%. Since 2018, the venture capital investment into Fintech companies in the Middle East has grown from $149 million to over $2.28 billion in 2022.

According to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), its Equity Crowdfunding platform has over 12,000 global investors based in over 40 countries. The company's network offers a golden opportunity to a range of international investors including institutional investors, angel investors, small business owners, and large corporates. Arif Amiri of DIFC talks about the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) as the “world’s fastest-growing hub” where his company is looking for “new ways to help firms access this $7.8 trillion market with 3 billion people.”

Despite all the progress and opportunities, the financial services industry in the Middle East has its share of challenges. Even as there is rapid adoption of financial products, the region requires additional global investments to sustain its growth. The limited availability of tech talent is also an area of concern if scale is to be achieved.

According to a Deloitte study, only 5% of the Middle East-based banks are partnering with Fintech companies. While 82% of banking customers in the region are willing to use Fintech solutions, they are also following a “wait and see approach.” But this must change. To reach their market potential, MEA-based banks and financial institutions need to integrate technology solutions into their ecosystem. Only then will they be able to provide exceptional digital solutions that can meet growing customer needs.

Conclusion

The 2022 iFX EXPO held in Dubai highlighted the growing importance of the Fintech and financial services industry in the Middle East and African countries. Being among the fastest-growing region for financial products, banks and financial companies need to adopt a technology-driven digital-first approach to serving their customers.

Formerly known as Simple2Trade, FYNXT has looked to deliver financial services that can empower its global customers. Our solutions range from FX brokerage products to banking and remittance. Our production-ready FYNXT module can connect directly to existing MT4/MT5 platforms, thus leveraging your existing investments.

We can help you adopt a digital-first approach in the competitive MEA market. Request a product demo now.