Dubai has been lauded as the perfect financial services hub to serve the 1 billion individuals that need financial services advice within the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa), according to a new report.
Dubai is “strategically positioned” to facilitate development of both digitally enabled financial solutions and traditional advice services to more than 1 billion individuals across Middle East, Africa and South Asia, according to the new report published by Oliver Wyman, in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Titled “The Case for an Innovation Hub to Facilitate MEASA Financial Inclusion”, the report reveals that 1.7 billion of the world’s global working population are still lacking access to formal financial services, with 1 billion of these individuals in the MEASA region. The report also highland that an average of 48% of the working adult population owns a financial account compared to a global average of 69%, and conditions across MEASA continue to “constrain access” to both traditional and digital financial services for the currently financially excluded population.
“In a financially inclusive environment, individuals and businesses can conveniently access a variety of financial services at low cost and are offered products that are tailored to their specific needs. For a significant share of the population across MEASA this is currently not possible. While many existing efforts are underway across the region, these are often heavily fragmented and make a large-scale advancement challenging.” said Greg Rung, Partner, Financial Services at Oliver Wyman.
Rung added that there is an “urgent need” for reforms to overcome this growing disparity, but this will require “the collaboration of a broad array of stakeholders” from across the financial, technology and government sectors.
“Given their rapid evolution, digital technologies are a critical catalyst in achieving financial inclusion. The proposed hub will support centralisation of efforts and identify opportunities for scalable solutions,” he added.
Dubai has positioned itself, alongside the UK and one of the world’s best recognised global and regional economic and financial hub with strong financial expertise, with recent innovations such as Smart Dubai and Dubai Plan 2021. The free zone has over 1,853 active registered companies and a fintech community of over 50 firms and numerous fintech-related clients.
Arif Amiri, chief executive at the DIFC Authority, said: “With an approximate population of 3 billion, the MEASA region sits on a large pool of opportunities that are still untapped for the lack of financial access. Delivering financial services to more people across the region has become a necessity that Dubai, and the UAE as a whole, are perfectly positioned to contribute to.”