Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has continued growth in the first half of 2019, welcoming more than 250 new companies to bring the total number of active registered firms to 2289. 

The DIFC reports that it has more than 670 firms in the financial sector, including new additions in 2019 from Malaysia, Australia, Mauritius and the US. Numerous firms in other sectors joined the DIFC in the first half of 2019, including Guidepoint MEA, Network International, and Medtronic Finance Hungary Kft.

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The DIFC offers financial and legal education through partnerships with 26 educational institutions, helping continue professional development and strengthen the regional talent pool. More than 5500 graduates have completed programmes in the finance, law, and business courses offered. 

Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, said: “The DIFC has been a pioneer in the financial services sector since its inception in 2004, and remains a fundamental driver in leading financial sector transformation, supporting the advancement of the United Arab Emirates economy, and developing the next generation of financial professionals.”

DIFC’s financial technology ecosystem now includes more than 200 companies, from 80 in January 2019. It includes more than 80 fully licensed fintech firms, including Dublin-based software company Fenergo and Swedish crowdfunding platform FundedByMe.

The DIFC’s FinTech Hive accelerator has received more than 425 applications in 2019, already 42% more than the whole of 2018, reflecting Dubai as a home for fintech firms looking to scale across their business across the region. The FinTech Hive has continued to progress since launching in 2017, and now fintech firms can benefit from the DIFC’s network of 14 international accelerators, including new additions in 2019 following memorandums of understanding signed with fintech hubs in Istanbul, Milan and Saudi Arabia.  

Attracting foreign investment is high on the UAE’s agenda as it aims to diversify its revenue base, and Dubai is launching initiatives to streamline and facilitate foreign enterprise. The effect of this is showing, as greenfield FDI inflows in the first half of 2019 are 42% higher than in the same period last year, according to data from investment monitor fDi Markets. 

The DIFC has announced plans to triple in size, as well as diversifying the financial services sector within the wider region. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and DIFC president, outlined the aims to “solidify Dubai’s role as a pivotal hub for companies from around the world to access regional opportunities”.