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COVID-19 pandemic has given us an unprecedented opportunity to prepare

Reinvent ourselves for a digital future, says ADGM chief

Abu Dhabi — The signing of the Abraham Accords has opened up the possibility of creating an exciting investment and FinTech corridor between Israel – the Start-up Nation, and UAE – the startup hub for the MENA region, said Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, in his keynote speech on the second day of the 4th FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival 2020.

Over 130 FinTech leaders from around the world are meeting here over two days to discuss some of the most pressing issues and opportunities facing FinTech and economies in the next decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic, Al Sayegh stated, has delayed plans and will continue to test resilience and ability to adapt to changes. ”Yet, 2020 has also given us time to pause, rethink and adopt new perspectives. A chance to review, transform and enhance the value propositions for our economies and to do so in an impactful, inclusive and sustainable manner. In my view, the pandemic has given us an unprecedented opportunity to prepare and reinvent ourselves for a digital future. The digital economy is one that catalyses greater growth and social impact by achieving sustainable financial goals, gender equality and financial inclusion.” ”From the start, we at Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, have embedded technologies and digitalisation in building out our ecosystem and developing our operations. As part of our business strategy, we enable innovators and Abu Dhabi entrepreneurs, starting with FinTechs, to have the support needed for them to innovate with purpose – more specifically, to support growth and impact economies,” he noted.

”We have seen how innovation has the ability to empower lives – regardless of race and nationality, and FinTech interacts with every industry in creating synergy and value.” ADGM, he continued, has continuously introduced robust regulations and innovative solutions that enable financial intermediation, attract more liquidity and investments and anchor the tech ecosystem in the UAE and wider region.

”Despite the challenging climate this year, the number of tech start-ups in ADGM grew by 80 per cent to 291, and venture capitalist activities triple from last year. This is because our community is well supported by our wide array of licensing regimes for tech innovators and financing activities.” The ADGM chairman announced a couple of new initiatives that ADGM has taken on to further support the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s digital and economic plans.

”First, one of the most exciting initiatives we are embarking on is the development of the ADGM Digital Lab platform supported by the Ghadan 21 initiative. The Digital Lab, in collaboration with founding stakeholders including the UAE Central Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, provides a secure and trusted digital environment where FinTechs can create and test solutions with financial institutions to address real-world problems and challenges, with direct participation and engagement by regulators.” ”The Digital Lab will enable the rapid prototyping and adoption of digital solutions that can help businesses overcome their pain points or tap new market opportunities. To provide a secured platform that promotes collaboration in the digital lab, the ADGM has published a set of regulatory guidance on API standards based on international best practices.” ”We will be issuing and seeking feedback from the industry on a proposed new framework, to regulate FinTechs that want to work with financial institutions in areas of open banking and open finance. Besides, the UAE Central Bank and ADGM will be co-hosting a sandbox programme in the Digital lab, which will enable UAE-licensed banks to test FinTech proposals under the joint supervision of the Central Bank and ADGM, he concluded.-WAM

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