Africa looks to Abu Dhabi to nurture nascent Islamic fintech community

An African social impact firm has signed an MoU with Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) to foster growth for fintech start-ups across the Middle East and Africa, with an important focus on companies offering Shariah compliant solutions.

By partnering with the Abu Dhabi international financial center, TechPreneur Africa has created a bridge between the two regions for fintech companies to access one another’s market. Under the agreement, African innovators would be able to apply to ADGM’s regulatory laboratory to test the viability of their fintech solutions as well as pivot off ADGM to access other GCC markets and international jurisdictions for capital and regulatory recognition. Conversely, ADGM’s GCC and global fintech companies would also gain the assistance of TechPreneur Africa to deploy their products in Africa.

“We hope that through closer collaboration with like-minded fintech hubs, we are able to leverage the strengths and expertise of our markets to more efficiently address the needs of the industry and support economic growth and development in the region,” said Richard Teng, CEO of ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority. “This new partnership will open up new avenues and create opportunities for fintech firms in the Middle East and Africa looking to expand into each other’s markets.”

One of the reasons TechPreneur Africa is building this connection with one of the world’s most advanced Islamic financial markets is to also leverage on the Emirates’s expertise and openness to Shariah compliant products to facilitate the growth of Islamic fintech start-ups. IFN Fintech understands that the Lagos-based organization has received significant interest from technopreneurs to tap the Shariah compliant financial market.

Africa is an emerging Islamic finance market with promising growth potential, and the ability to test Islamic fintech innovations in a regulatory-light environment with established Islamic finance infrastructure would facilitate the development and implementation of such solutions in the African market. This partnership will also open doors for Middle Eastern fintech providers to foray into the African region.

For many, the Islamic finance proposition is crucial in Africa’s drive toward a 30% financial growth by 2020, a goal TechPreneur Africa CEO Bolaji Finnih is committed to supporting. A technopreneur himself, it comes as no surprise that developing the African fintech ecosystem is a major agenda for the social impact firm to democratize access to financial services.


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