The race to become the world’s leading leading Islamic fintech hub
By Tim Cooper
Financial technologies that comply with Islamic law, or Sharia, could help attract 150 million new banking customers in the next three years alone, according to consultants EY.
But Pew Research points out that demand is set to grow well beyond this with the global Muslim population expected to explode from less than two billion in 2015 to almost three billion by 2060.
Malaysia, the UK and Indonesia are leading the race, ranking first, second and third respectively by number of Islamic fintech startups, says Bloomberg Intelligence. However, fierce competition from Middle Eastern countries threatens their supremacy.
In January, Bahraini banks created a consortium aiming to create fifteen fintech providers in five years. Last year, the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) launched an accelerator, called FinTech Hive, with a similar aim.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are collaborating to promote fintech and have developed regulatory test beds, known as sandboxes, for emerging technologies.
Photo courtesy of Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion.