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How great would it be? – Issue 9

Interview with Nameer Khan, Founding Board Member, MENA Fintech Association

What are the gaps in fintech research in the Middle East and North Africa region?

When it comes to research there are multiple things happening, for example there are reports that highlight the number of investments made in the fintech landscape. There are reports that feature the number of start-ups that exist, new start-ups that are being formed and those that are working with large entities. What we are currently lacking is a sense of the quality of the start-ups across the ecosystem and the impact they’re making. I believe a social impact assessment report would be hugely valuable.

Existing research also lacks a legal and technical framework, which leads to a lot of confusion, which is why the MFTA has launched its own platform to simplify regulation and clarify regulatory terms.

What are the research needs?

Needs can be defined differently depending on whether you are an enterprise, a start-up, a fintech or a regulator. As a regulator I would definitely want to see what the market is saying, what the consumer or the user is demanding. Based on that, a regulator can push the ecosystem to respond – there are useful reports from CapGemini or Accenture that do highlight the customer experience angle. From an enterprise point of view, I would want to see which start-ups or fintechs are specialising in particular categories of fintech – something more like a directory.

Where do you see research and content development moving in future? 

Our region has an enormous opportunity to disrupt the area of research, particularly in terms of comparing the quality of fintech across different countries so that one can categorically say why a certain jurisdiction is superior to another and to list those points that make one hub bigger and better than another. There needs to be a bit more of a collective comparison between the ecosystems, a neutral, more visible picture of who is who. And I’m not referring to the PR game. Right now a lot of the ecosystems are playing the PR game, but PR should never define your quality or make you a hub. What makes you a hub is your ecosystem, the quality of start-ups you’re producing, the amount of investments you’re bringing into the region and what kind of talent you are building up. These are the things that really matter.

The Global Fintech Index by Findexable launches worldwide on 4 December 2019
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