While many existing efforts are underway across MEASA, these are often heavily fragmented and make a large-scale advancement challenging. Given the size of the untapped market, and the urgent need for reforms, we call for the establishment of a regional innovation hub dedicated to the development and distribution of scalable digital financial solutions. Dubai is ideally positioned to serve as the beating heart of such a hub given its geo-strategic location as international lay over destination for global business partners; and strong existing recognition as a global and regional financial centre as well as the government’s commitment to financial introduction.
Almost half of all financially excluded and underserved individuals are currently concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. At 48 percent, the average of the working adult population that owns a financial account, continues to be significantly lower compared to the global average of 69 percent. In addition, conditions across the region continue to constrain access to (digital) financial services.