DIFC, DFF join forces to drive future of finance

The Dubai International Financial Centre is a leading global financial center in the MEASA region, and is now home to more than 200 fintech companies.
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Updated 14 September 2020

DIFC, DFF join forces to drive future of finance

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has reaffirmed its commitment to driving the future of finance in the region by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). The agreement between the two counterparts will advance the innovation agenda within Dubai and engage the financial technology community through scaling and training opportunities.

DIFC’s priorities align with DFF’s mission, which is to collectively imagine, inspire and design Dubai’s future. The financial services sector is the third largest economic activity contributing to Dubai’s GDP today and this is expected to grow in the coming years. DIFC will also be a major part of the Dubai Future District, the region’s largest future economy focused district.

The entities will partner on a combined technology acceleration program which will identify and support blockchain and AI-driven startups from the region, placing them on an aggressive growth trajectory. The move will aid the execution of the Dubai 10X vision, which enables the government of Dubai to be 10 years ahead of all other cities by embracing disruptive innovation.

The MoU also outlines plans to introduce technical training programs at the DIFC Academy. This includes coding courses such as full-stack web development and app development. They will ultimately support the DFF’s One Million Arab Coders initiative, which was launched in 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC Authority, said: “As the leading financial hub in the MEASA region, our eyes are firmly on the future. We are committed to driving the growth in the finance sector by embracing innovation, technology and training. Investing in human capital initiatives with the Dubai Future Foundation is incredibly important. It underscores our long-term commitment to making Dubai a leading business city of the future aligned with the national government agenda.”

Khalfan Belhoul, chief executive of DFF, said: “By working closely with DIFC, we seek to accelerate business opportunities for the region, attract startups and talents, employ innovation and technology to further enhance and generate a robust financial sector and provide the right tools and skill sets to enable a future-ready generation. This partnership is a testament to our unified vision and commitment to positioning Dubai as a knowledge-based economy and to the pivotal role the UAE plays in driving its financial industry globally.”

DIFC is now home to more than 200 fintech companies, enjoying substantial growth between 2018 and 2019.

Future Hospitality Summit eyes tourism recovery

Updated 28 September 2020

Future Hospitality Summit eyes tourism recovery

Future Hospitality Summit, a hybrid virtual conference to explore big ideas and tackle the challenges facing the hospitality industry, is set to take place live from Riyadh and around the world, on Oct. 26 and 27. It is organized by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and the G20 Saudi Secretariat, as part of the International Conferences’ Programme, honoring the G20 Saudi presidency year 2020.

The event, which promises to be one of the most impactful gatherings of the world’s hospitality community, will be delivered on Bench Digital’s tried-and-tested digital event platform, providing an immersive live experience, including a virtual exhibition, one-to-one video networking, and integrated chat features for all participants.

A comprehensive three-pillar program has been developed in collaboration with industry creators, innovators and mentors, with particular focus on understanding the new landscape, collaborating and assessing opportunities, and innovating to recreate the industry’s future. Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International; Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation; Gloria Guevara, CEO and president, WTTC; Jerry Inzerillo, CEO, Diriyah Gate Development Authority; and Anita Mendiratta, special advisory to the secretary general, UNWTO; are lined up as featured speakers, along with over 100 other speakers and thousands of attendees.

“As a country that is at the forefront of the tourism sector’s response and recovery plans through the G20 presidency, Saudi Arabia is leading the conversation on the future of tourism and will provide an international platform to bring the industry together at the Future Hospitality Summit. Together, we will map out the rebuilding of the tourism and travel sector and strategically plan a sustainable future for stakeholders at every level,” said Mahmoud Abdulhadi, deputy minister for investment at the Saudi Ministry of Tourism.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman and founder of Bench Digital, added: “During this difficult time, it is vital that hospitality professionals across the globe come together as a community to work toward the recovery of our industry. Future Hospitality Summit will not only provide a powerful platform to network virtually, showcase best practice and demonstrate thought leadership, but it will also prove invaluable in ensuring that the industry emerges stronger as a whole from these unprecedented challenges.”

Empowering tomorrow’s workforce and attracting talent into the hospitality sector — imperative factors in sustaining the industry — will be two of the key focus points of the hybrid summit. Developing a skilled workforce is paramount in order to quickly evolve and keep pace with the demand being created from the hospitality sector. In Saudi Arabia, for example, 253 new hotels are coming online by 2030. Consequently, Future Hospitality Summit is a forum to engage with the hospitality workforce of the future and promote the sector as an attractive career path.