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Qatar Central Bank’s FinTech Strategy

There was a lot of buzz across the GCC region recently when the Qatar Central Bank published its Fintech Sector Strategy document. Here’s an except from the first page:

Screenshot from the Summary of FinTech Sector Strategy document

It makes for very stimulating reading and sets out a bold set of intentions that we think are both exciting and promising for Qatar and for the region.

We are impressed by the statement of intent – not least the rather direct way in which the bank, on page 10, highlights the total number of licensed FinTechs in Qatar as just 6. That’s a small number. But by 2027, the Central Bank is publicly aiming to shift this dramatically – by 3x to 5x or between 18 and 30 licensed FinTechs. Of course your definition of ‘licensed’ is an important one. Irrespective, if Qatar can encourage the founding of around 30 FinTechs in under 5 years, that will be very exciting for the country and the region.

The report highlights that about 48 jobs in Qatar are projected in FinTech in 2023. Again that’s quite a small number – 8 people per FinTech (if you assume a total of 6). To put this in context, we reckon just the direct engineering team at Monzo Bank is probably about 50 people. NatWest Bank in the United Kingdom probably employs about 400 overseeing its digital teams. DIFC (not just FinTech) in Dubai reports 36,000 employees and 4,300 financial companies – although DIFC FinTech Hive claims 100+ jobs created. So 48 employees in a target sector is small. But again, kudos for setting the statement of intent. The Qatar Central Bank is intending this to grow by 20x to 25x in 5 years (or to reach between 960 and 1,200). Very exciting.

Good luck Qatar Central Bank! We’re looking forward to following the news as it comes.

If you’d like to read the document, you can find it here.

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