2017 Could Be A Record Year For Arab Fintech

Fintech start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to attract $50 million worth of investments in 2017, compared with a total of $100 million invested over the past decade. That’s according to a recent report published by Dubai-based start-up network and accelerator Wamda, in partnership with online-payment gateway Payfort.

“This would be a strong indicator suggesting that MENA is about to transition from the frontier to the emerging market in fintech,” the report points out.

Some of this year’s biggest deals include $20 million for Bahraini payment solution PayTabs, $3.5 million for Emirati finance-comparison platform yallacompare and $1.5 million for Emirati mobile-banking solution NOW Money.

The region’s digital banking ecosystem is developing quickly around four major hubs: the United Arab Emirates—home to over a third of the region’s fintech companies—followed by Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

The report indicates that nearly all surveyed start-ups plan to enter new markets over the next two years, and that “88% of entrepreneurs were either seeking or already leveraging partnerships with corporations,” mainly banks.