Iraq’s economic growth may have collapsed due to the twin shocks of stymied global oil demand and COVID-19, compounded by ongoing unrest, but Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is harnessing Islamic fintech leveraging on the relatively high ‘internetization’ of the Republic to expand its Islamic banking proposition.
The vehicle driving ADIB’s strategic growth in the Republic of 39 million is ADIB Direct, a digital platform integrating a suite of corporate banking solutions including cash management, cash flow forecasting and foreign exchange services.
“Through ADIB Direct, we enable companies to efficiently manage their cash payments, liquidity, trade finance, supply chain and foreign exchange needs so they have more time to focus on their business,” explained Abdullah Al Shehhi, ADIB’s head of the international banking group.
Iraq carries several encouraging digital statistics: internet users continue to surge — between 2019 and 2020, the number jumped 55%, bringing internet penetration to 75% in January 2020, according to latest data from Hootsuite. Mobile connection penetration over the same period stood at 103% of the total population.
This has led to ADIB, the first Emirati bank to anchor itself in Iraq, to leverage on Islamic fintech and digitization to grow its business and market share. ADIB Direct is a digital platform the bank first introduced in the UAE back in 2019, which has shown promising results: over 90% of ADIB’s UAE online corporate banking services are fulfilled digitally through ADIB Direct, and it is likely that the bank hoped to replicate similar success in the Iraqi market.