Qatar has made remarkable progress in the fintech sector and is accelerating the ecosystem. In order to advance and enhance the development of the sector, the key stakeholders have published the Qatar National Fintech Strategy (QNFS) 2020 with the establishment of the Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) in a very central role.
The QFTH aims and intends to aid the digital transformation of the financial sector and to make the country a(n) regional and international hub for fintech in line with the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030. Its incubator and accelerator programmes are the most prominent initiatives to attract global talent.
Despite the turbulent times brought on by Covid-19, the pandemic created new opportunities and possibilities as businesses had to innovate their models due to the limitations.
The global investments in the fintech sector totalled QAR 111.0 billion (USD 30.4 billion) in 2020. The largest investments were in payment solutions followed by digital banking and capital market solutions. Qatar’s strategic interests are aligned with these areas.
In addition, the key stakeholders in the country are prioritizing businesses operating in Islamic FinTech, RegTech, InsurTech, PropTech and small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) enabling FinTech. The QFC introduced a FinTech Services Provider License that classifies businesses with related activities, products and services as non-regulated businesses under QFC’s platform.
By the end of 2020, the QFC registered a total of 39 fintech businesses with another 20 fintech businesses in the pipeline. Fintech businesses licensed by the QFC enjoy a number of incentives including a waiver of the application and (first year) renewal fees, market access and rent-free workspace.
Key drivers for solutions in the fintech sector include a high disposable income, an internet educated population, the high level of online payment penetration as well as the shifting consumer preferences away from traditional financial services.
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