MUSCAT: The Middle East fintech industry is experiencing significant growth and investment opportunities, according to research conducted by Red Mad Robot.
Over the past two three years (2021-2023), Middle East fintech startups have received a total funding of approximately $2 billion through 140-160 deals, with a 40-43% of a total share in the UAE.
This substantial growth can be attributed to the increasing tech-savviness of consumers who actively utilize digital banking services and non-cash payment methods. Furthermore, government authorities in the Middle East, including central banks and regulators, are committed to developing the fintech sector by establishing necessary infrastructure such as accelerators, incubators, and fintech hubs.
The comprehensive report not only provides market analysis but also highlights key players in the fintech market and trends within the Middle East fintech environment.
With over 100 promising fintech startups in the region, the Middle East market is dominated by companies specializing in digital payments, instant cross-border payments, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services, and digital banking. These companies have later-stage deals and exits, demonstrating their innovative services and growing sustainable business models.
KSA and Egypt account for 46% of the fintech companies in the region, with nine projects in Egypt and six in KSA. Notably, top fintech companies have attracted investments into the region, improving the business environment and showcasing great potential for future growth. Successful startups are already operating in multiple markets and have plans for further geographical expansion. For instance, digital bank Yalla, founded in Egypt, currently has an office in the UAE and is set to expand to KSA and Kuwait.
Trends in the Middle East
1. Digital payment solutions are growing rapidly.
2. The Middle East is in the stages of approving virtual assets, DeFi and CBDC.
3. Fintech startups see opportunities in cross-border payments and remittances space- to help cater to a large number of foreign workers.
4. SMEs and merchants are using digital platforms to improve business processes and get access to capital.
5. Rise of the tech ecosystem and superapps.
6. Neobanking is an advanced trend – the market has different ways of developing: digital-only offering from leading incumbents and independent firms.
7. BNPL services have potential of becoming more popular in this region.