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.