DIFC, which is a financial free zone administered by the government of Dubai, devised the fund as a way to accelerate the development of fintech companies looking to enter the Middle East, Africa and South Asia markets. The fund will target investments in startups beginning at the incubation stage through the growth stage.
The fund was announced in the presence of H.H Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC, during the inaugural Global Financial Forum (GFF), a gathering of finance industry players organized by DIFC.
“The fund will leverage the DIFC’s fintech ecosystem consisting of attractive experimental licenses, market leading pricing and collaborative spaces. There is immense opportunity in this market, and this will be one more step towards shaping the future of finance in the region,” said Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, in a speech at the GFF.
It’s the latest fintech-related development announced by DIFC. In January 2017 DIFC launched a fintech accelerator called FinTech Hive. The accelerator kicked off the first cycle of its program in August, with 11 entrepreneurs participating.
DIFC’s new fund comes barely a week after neighboring Bahrain announced it is establishing a fintech hub, called Bahrain FinTech Bay. Earlier this year Bahrain’s central bank created a regulatory framework allowing financial technology firms to test and experiment with banking ideas in the country.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced the launch of a $100 million fund focused on financial technology, or fintech—yet another sign of growing interest in the sector coming from the GCC.