ⓘ Featured image: H.E. Khalfan Belhoul (L), CEO, Dubai Future Foundation; and Arif Amiri, CEO, DIFC Authority
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has reaffirmed its commitment to driving the future of finance by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). The agreement between the two forward-looking counterparts will advance the innovation agenda within Dubai and engage the financial technology community through scaling and training opportunities.
DIFC’s priorities align with DFF’s mission which is to collectively imagine, inspire and design Dubai’s Future. Financial services sector is the third largest economic activity contributing to Dubai’s GDP today and this is expected to grow in the coming years. DIFC will also be a major part of the Dubai Future District, the region’s largest future economy focused district.
The entities will partner on a combined technology acceleration programme. It will identify and supporting blockchain and AI-driven start-ups from the region, placing them on an aggressive growth trajectory. The move will aid the execution of the Dubai 10X vision, which enables the Government of Dubai to be 10 years ahead of all other cities by embracing disruptive innovation.
DFF will actively promote the recently introduced DIFC Innovation License to their partners and programme participants. This demonstrates DFF’s commitment to work with DIFC on driving the future of finance.
The MoU also outlines plans to introduce technical training programmes at the DIFC Academy. This includes coding courses such as Full-Stack Web Development and App Development. They will ultimately support the Dubai Future Foundation’s One Million Arab Coders initiative, which was launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
DIFC and DFF will also collaborate on research and development programmes with leading research and technical institutes.
Commenting on the MoU, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority said,
“As the leading financial hub in the MEASA region, our eyes are firmly on the future. We are committed to driving the growth in the finance sector by embracing innovation, technology and training. Investing in human capital initiatives with the Dubai Future Foundation is incredibly important. It underscores our long-term commitment to make Dubai a leading business city of the future aligned with the national government agenda. Together, we can ensure Dubai’s sustained prosperity and accelerate the Emirate’s development journey. We look forward to combining forces to drive the future of finance.”
H.E. Khalfan Belhoul, Chief Executive Office of Dubai Future Foundation, said:
“Through our strategic partnership with DIFC, we are confident that the positive outcomes would create impact not only for the respective organizations but also for the region and its economic growth. By working closely with DIFC, we seek to accelerate business opportunities for the region, attract start-ups and talents, employ innovation and technology to further-enhance and generate a robust financial sector and provide the right tools and skillsets to enable a future-ready generation. This partnership is a testament to our unified vision and commitment to positioning Dubai as a knowledge-based economy and to the pivotal role the UAE plays in driving its financial industry globally.”
DIFC is already home to the region’s largest and comprehensive FinTech ecosystem and continues to diversify and transform the financial services industry. The sustained focus on financial sector innovation is helping to deliver Dubai’s ambitious growth agenda.
DIFC is now home to over 200 FinTech companies, enjoying substantial growth between 2018 and 2019. The Centre continues to work with regional and international stakeholders to develop a robust digital infrastructure and maintain its position as the region’s leading FinTech hub. The Centre offers an independent regulatory and judicial system, a global financial exchange, access to funding, a dynamic and enabling sector environment, complemented by a diverse and cosmopolitan talent pool and a vibrant business community.