Qatar positions itself as leading fintech hub in Middle East: PwC report
Qatar is embracing fintech's potential and implementing initiatives to create a robust and sustainable ecosystem, as it aims to achieve its vision of a digital economy, noted the report.
Qatar is positioning itself as a leading fintech hub in the Middle East and a pioneer in digital transformation and sustainability in the financial services sector, PwC Middle East's latest Qatar Banking Sector report highlights.
Qatar is embracing the potential of fintech and implementing initiatives to create a robust and sustainable ecosystem, as it aims to achieve its National Vision 2030 of a digital economy, noted the report, as shared on Zawya.
Initiatives such as Google Cloud's 'Doha cloud region' and OpenAI's GPT technology in Azure Qatar Cloud are expected to provide long-term benefits to Qatari companies, but banks must also consider risk mitigation and regulatory policies for successful implementation, said the report.
"Qatar is strategically positioning itself as a leading fintech hub in the Middle East and a pioneer in digital transformation and sustainability within the financial services sector," said Ahmed al-Kiswani, Qatar Financial Services Sector leader, PwC Middle East.
He expressed confidence in the ability of Qatar's financial sector to adapt to a changing financial environment and continue growing.
Qatari banks are integrating ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices into their strategies and reporting, aligning with global frameworks, supporting green financing and social inclusion, and adopting sustainability measures.
Banks in Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including Qatar, are focusing on technology and data governance to build a sustainable future. The government's emphasis on environmental impact during the FIFA World Cup 2022 has led to strategic partnerships for sustainable finance initiatives. However, climate risk management remains a challenge.
“We are expecting further execution guidelines to be issued in the digital banking and fintech areas,” PwC noted.
Qatari banks have seen a significant increase in total assets and liabilities in the financial year 2022, with aggregated assets growing by 3.6% and liabilities growing by 3.5%, the report said. This growth is attributed to the rapid expansion of the banking industry in Qatar over the past three years.
The report also highlights the importance of effective capital allocation, risk management, and market responsiveness in maintaining profitability and competitive advantage in the banking sector.
Foreign liabilities accounted for 10.4% of the banking sector's funding in FY 2022, while net external debt decreased by almost 8% of Qatar's forecasted GDP. Banks have reported gradual growth in their balance sheet and financing portfolio, demonstrating high adaptability to changing interest rate environments.
Qatari banks are enhancing their digital capabilities through customer-centric approaches and innovation. They are establishing strategic partnerships with fintech companies and developing new digital products, the report stated.
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Edited by Swetha Kannan