Sheikh Bandar Mohammed Saoud Al-Thani, the governor of the Qatar Central Bank (QCB), has launched the National FinTech Strategy of the Sultanate for the year 2023, which is expected to boost the country’s wider fintech sector.
“Qatar Central Bank is embarking on a fintech journey to support diversification and innovation within financial services and enable the Qatar National Vision 2030,” said the apex bank.
The strategy was designed to take into account several key principles, one of which is to “leverage Qatar’s leadership position in Islamic banking and insurance to build out focus areas in fintech,” as specified in the summary published by the central bank.
Other key principles considered are the country’s investments, Qatar’s geographical and global reach, and leadership and education.
Qatar’s fintech strategy is centered around four strategic pillars that aim to position Qatar as a leader in fintech foundation and infrastructure: growth drivers or focus areas; fintech talent (or ‘FinTalent’); capability excellence; and ‘FinTouch’, which is focused on enabling fintech to touch the lives of Qatari citizens and corporates.
Under the strategic pillar of growth drivers, the QCB aims to build a niche role in ethical and green fintech by leveraging its Islamic banking strengths and its strong focus on ESG, the summary report said.
The central bank is also looking at developing insurtech, including for Islamic insurance, by capitalizing on Qatar’s strong insurance sector to help improve the region’s insurance penetration rates, which at the moment remain low.
Qatar has, in the past year, ramped up its initiatives to become a regional fintech hub, going head-to-head with its more established peers and pioneers: the UAE and Bahrain. Qatar FinTech Hub, a national incubator for early-stage fintech companies, has Islamic finance as one of its four key focus areas as well, and enjoys the support of Islamic financial entities including Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar Islamic Bank, QIIB and Qatar Islamic Insurance Company, among others.
The Qatar Financial Centre has meanwhile set a priority to attract Islamic fintech by offering special incentives to set up Islamic venture capital funds to drive investments in Qatar-based companies. The center has also been looking at Islamic regtech as an opportunity to gain an advantage in the global Islamic fintech space.