The 2020 FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival is taking place on 24-26 November via a virtual platform that will stream 27 hours of content over three days from 130 international speakers. Co-hosted by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), the festival will be held online in a digital format, providing attendees with multiple forms of participation. Register Here.
Inaugurated in 2017 by the ADGM, the event is now in its fourth year and continues to grow. Each year offers an ever-more impressive schedule and 2020 is set to continue this trend, despite being the first year that the festival must adapt to a virtual environment.
It will also serve as a showcase for several preceding events, including the MENA region's FinTech hub connector series “The Search”, the FinTech100 programme, and the Innovation Challenge, all held over three days. With some of the best business minds from around the world giving presentations on hot topics like sustainability, crisis innovation, diversification, and financial digitisation, it promises to be an unmissable event for all fintech enthusiasts.
The Driving Force of FinTech
Over the past year the UAE has been pushing for increased FinTech innovation in the country with the hope to secure the nation as a global tech hub. The recent normalisation agreement between the UAE and the already prominent tech hub of Israel promises to further help develop and strengthen this mission.
The UAE is focused on using fintech to develop locally bred solutions to common financial issues in areas such as peer-to-peer lending, insurance, and wealth management. It hopes to better understand and incorporate modern technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to help scale up the quality of its offerings and compete on an international level.
The UAE’s strategic geographic location combined with a favourable tax system and a trade free zone makes it an ideal contender for a position amongst the world’s leading fintech hubs. Its attractive living conditions and booming economy promise to lure in highly talented individuals from around the world, creating a multilingual melting pot of foreign cultures filled with passionate entrepreneurs and ambitious business people. With the highest Human Development Index rating in the GCC, it's clear to see the advantages the nation offers to international workers looking to secure a brighter future. The UAE's highly motivated desire to help grow and develop small businesses is clear through its investment in events like the Abu Dhabi 2020 Innovation Challenge.
On November 25, the organizers will announce the winners of the Abu Dhabi 2020 Innovation Challenge. The highly competitive initiative selected seven finalists from a pool of 189 applications, namely the UAE’s Uqudo, Market IQ from Canada, Taiger from Singapore, Modefinance of Italy, Elucidate from Germany and FutureFlow and Finverity, both from the UK.
The firms all presented innovative solutions to various issues affecting the financial services sector, including SME promotion, RegTech developments, and FinTech digitisation.
Winners will have the opportunity to collaborate with a selection of Corporate Champions, including First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Anglo Gulf Trade Bank (AGTB), Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), and the ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).
They will be given the chance to address their chosen issue and develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) solution. Winners will be granted eligibility for further funding of their idea with additional support from the ADGM Digital Lab under supervision and guidance from the CBUAE and the FSRA.
The Fintech100 Programme
Presented by Hub71, the UAE’s Fintech100 initiative aims to bring together a powerful collective of the most disruptive and innovative players in the market. After considering thousands of applications throughout Q3 of 2020, ‘The Search’ initiative has now selected its 100 top contenders comprising a mix of established firms and promising startups.
These include established startups like Akoin, Bankify, CreditEnable, Finverity, and Relativity6 plus newer names like Flutterwave, Hala, Lean, MyMonii and Phyre.
Each year, the chosen 100 companies benefit from a range of services to help improve their business goals, including guidance and support from the CBUAE and ADGM, global media coverage, funding schemes, partner packages, mentorship, networking, and access to the Founders Forum and the ADGM marketing ecosystem.
The organizers of the Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival 2020 have arranged a comprehensive agenda, featuring talks and presentations from various experts in their fields. Attendees will be welcomed with an opening ceremony and keynote address by the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, followed by an introduction from the Governor of the Central Bank of U.A.E.
Over the three days, guests will hear from a broad spectrum of notable speakers such as the Head of the UAE Space Agency’s Mars Mission, members of the World Economic Forum, and high-profile representatives from governments around the world.
Some examples of various panel discussions that are set to take place include “The Era Of Sustainability, and a Green Financial Future”, “Global Investing in the Next Decade”, “How is AI Changing our Financial World?”, and “We Need More Women in FinTech”.
Besides the main discussions, several other events have been scheduled to occur around the venue, including ‘fireside chats’, presentations, and workshops.
This year has seen an increased focus on sustainability, with musical icon Akon chatting to Sky News Arabia about his sustainable fintech project ‘Akoin’. The blockchain-based project is aimed at helping young entrepreneurs in Africa to build successful businesses by overcoming financial and technological issues that hinder growth on the continent.
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