The fintech market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is expected to hit a record $3.45 billion by 2026, as per the calculation of the industry experts.
FinTech did not reach the Gulf region in its entirety until 2017, when regulators began implementing policies to encourage the growth of the sector, and although the region was slower to adopt FinTech than others around the world, the sector is growing rapidly, and above all, in a sustainable way.
The start-ups have done quite well in the region in 2019, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) ecosystem received $517 million in funding from 354 deals, or 30 % more than in 2018, according to an investment report from Mena Venture.
In particular, the UAE has been a driving force in remittances due to its largely expatriate population, which accounts for around 90% of the country's total population. According to the Milken Institute report, three quarters of remittances were transferred through foreign exchange companies, mainly to India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Market growth and trends
Several companies in the financial technology sector are increasingly implementing the novel technologies like blockchain for increasing their security and efficiency. Blockchain is a technology that comprises the use of a distributed database accessible to all users on a network, where each user can add a new data record (block), with a time stamp that cannot be changed. Blockchain technology maintains data authentication by limiting changes to older data blocks while allowing users to keep adding new data blocks, thus providing high security and transparency for companies operating in the fintech market. It improves trading accuracy, speeds up the settlement process, and reduces risk. According to the PwC FinTech report, around 77% of financial organizations and 90% of payment companies were supposed to integrate blockchain into their activities by the end of year 2020.
Market Drivers and Limitations
The key factor in the growth of the Middle East and Africa fintech market includes high investments in technological solutions by banks and companies. Additionally, infrastructure-based technology and APIs are reshaping the future of the financial services industry, thus contributing to the growth of the global fintech market. In addition, FinTech companies offer customized products at low cost due to emerging developments in the technology industry that generate higher expectations from customers, driving market growth on a large scale.
The Middle East and Africa Fintech market is segmented and sub-segmented into the following categories:
Of these, Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominated the market in 2019 with a 38.25% share and the trend is expected to continue until 2025. AI interfaces and chatbots have primarily redefined customer service, and their activity expanding will enable AI-oriented fintech market will grow at an impressive rate until 2025.
Depending on the region, the MEA fintech market is divided into UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and other nations. The MEA fintech market is supposed to record an increase in the coming years, which can be attributed to a strong adoption and development of the main technologies involved in fintech sector in the locale.
Key Market Players
The main players operating in the Fintech market include PayPal Holdings, Inc., Ant Group, Afterpay Limited, Google Pay (Alphabet Inc.), Nexi SpA, Klarna Bank AB, Social Finance, Inc. and Avant, LLC.
Coronavirus has had a positive effect on financial industry around the world, owing to the increased digital transactions and the adoption of the FinTech services in different parts of the globe. In May 2020, with many regional locks in play, 53% of respondents in the Middle East increased their online shopping to the using their smartphones. E-commerce platforms KSA Bin Dawood and Danube have benefited from the increase with their average sales up 200%, while in the UAE Carrefour has seen a 59% increase in the number of new online customers, since the start. of the epidemic. What the local closures have done is force more urban consumers, previously resistant to change, to buy online. Having experienced the convenience, it is likely that the majority of respondents in the Middle East will continue to maintain their new shopping behaviors after the COVID-19 pandemic.
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