Pandemic accelerates digital push

The COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed diversification throughout the GCC on an unprecedented scale. This is an extremely welcome development. Indeed, COVID-19 has exposed the region’s digital laggards, prompting governments to place digitalisation at the core of their national strategies as a means of survival. 

Change is already underway, and it will only accelerate. The ground-breaking increase in mobile penetration across the GCC is a major factor facilitating digital transformation, with 5G services now a regional reality. Over ten operators provide commercial 5G services, and we expect there to be around 62M 5G mobile subscribers by 2026.

Such developments are crucial for the growth and development of the fintech sector. Regionally, fintech is at the forefront of digital transformation, with countries embarking on various initiatives and mandates to facilitate the sector’s growth. In tandem with efforts to drive digitalisation within the fintech sector, there exists a rapid increase in ‘open banking’. Throughout the MENA region, open banking is only just beginning to take shape; its untapped potential therefore comes as no surprise. Indeed, 71% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 64% of adults are forecast to use open banking by 2022. We highlight the opportunities and trends likely to emerge going forward.

Clearly, the pandemic has propelled the region’s digital transformation. We assess that the momentum is here to stay. 

As ever, please reach out to discuss.

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