(MENAFN - The Peninsula) QNA
Doha: The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with B-Hive, a European collaborative innovation fintech platform, to join their efforts to develop the financial technology industry (FinTech) in Qatar.
The MoU, which was signed by Chief Executive Officer of QFC Yousuf Mohammed Al Jaida and CEO and Managing Partner of B-Hive Wim De Waele, highlights the QFC's commitment to the national FinTech agenda which aims to attract international FinTech ecosystems to Qatar.
B-Hive is a European collaborative innovation FinTech platform based in Belgium that brings together major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players to leverage the opportunities offered by digital transformation for the financial services industry.
This MoU will also facilitate cooperation on several aspects based on the promotion of business opportunities and knowledge sharing. The two entities will also work closely to discuss the latest trends in these disruptive technologies, legislation and other data, as well as the organisation of global activities to further promote the industry in both countries.
Under the MoU, QFC and B-Hive will contribute to the growth of FinTech-related communities by engaging with start-up support institutions as well as financial institutions and regulators. Furthermore, potential joint projects focusing on developing disruptive financial technologies will be explored, as well as the development of training and talent management programmes.
"Global FinTech funding toped $31 billion for 2017, according to KPMG, which brings the total global investment in the FinTech sector over the past three years to $122 billion. These figures certainly demonstrate the growing importance of FinTech as well as the diversity of investment opportunities in the industry," Al Jaida said.
The number of FinTech startups in the Middle East more than doubling from 46 to 105, between 2013 and 2015, according to the State of FinTech 2017 report. The number of startups in the industry is also expected to increase to 250 by 2020, demonstrating the growth potential of FinTech in the Middle East, as well as opportunities towards increasing financial inclusion.
"Our MoU with B-Hive is a reflection of our commitment to financial innovation in the financial sector and will undoubtedly contribute to developing the growing FinTech industry in Qatar, while leveraging the sizable investment opportunities available in this sector," he added.
The fifth highest number of FinTech deals in Europe in 2017 took place in Belgium, which is a clear indicator of its significance to the global FinTech industry. The continued growth of the industry in Belgium is sizable, with Belgian FinTech firms raising over $230 million in almost 60 deals in 2016 alone.
"B-Hive from the outset was designed to build bridges between the different innovative regions with a strong financial or technology sector. We are very pleased we can now extend that network to Qatar and look forward to the exchange of knowledge and jointly creating fintech business between the partners in the network," De Waele said.
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction, allowing companies to operate in and from Qatar within the QFC legal and tax environment. The QFC endeavours to promote Qatar as an attractive business destination. Companies that wish to establish a business in the QFC are guided throughout by a dedicated QFC relationship manager who assists in the process of obtaining a licence and offers support in matters related to operating a business in Qatar.
QFC firms enjoy competitive benefits, such as working within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, up to 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double tax treaty agreement network with 60+ countries.
In addition, the independent Employment Standards Office of the QFC embodies a unique Administrative Employment Dispute Resolution Centre accredited by the International Labour Organization (ILO), providing conciliation and adjudication services free of charge to help resolve workplace conflicts. The ESO is fully aligned with the QNV 2030 and aspires to promote international best practices in the field of human capital.
B-Hive is a European collaborative innovation fintech platform that brings together major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players to work on common innovation programs and build bridges between corporate partners and start-up and scale-up community members. It aims to put Brussels on the map as the smart gateway to Europe and leverage on the opportunities offered by the digital transformation for the financial services industry. It believes that building bridges between important fintech hubs and the Eurozone enables both European and non-European companies to grow and expand.