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Welcome to the UAE

Each new article in the "Welcome" section is a new journey to other countries. More specifically, it is a new journey to other countries, or to be more precise, an introduction to their cultural characteristics, economic sectors and financial systems. Today our compass points east to a country of great contrasts and innovation - the United Arab Emirates.

A brief summary

The UAE is a country on the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by Oman and Saudi Arabia. It's a federation of seven monarchies united by common economic and political interests.

Two key cities - Dubai and Abu Dhabi - serve as both cultural and economic centres, epitomising Middle Eastern luxury as well as constant development, rapid growth and a commitment to innovation.

The Emirates are renowned for their modern architectural masterpieces, each of which has been described as 'the most'. Dubai's Burj Khalifa, for example, is one of the world's tallest buildings. Standing more than 800 metres tall, it is a true symbol of the UAE and its desire for progress.

The Economy

The UAE economy is a wonderful blend of tradition, innovation and sustainable growth. It was once completely dependent on the oil industry. But the UAE has successfully diversified with a pioneering strategy and broad vision.

The Emirates has made a real breakthrough in developing sectors such as real estate, tourism and financial services. This has enabled the country to reduce its dependence on the oil industry and create a more sustainable, flexible economy.

The UAE has also invested heavily in new technologies and renewable energy sources, driving progress in these areas that underlines its commitment to sustainable development and its readiness to meet the challenges of the future.

A progressive digitalization policy is supported and actively promoted at the national level. The UAE is integrating digital technologies into all aspects of life, from public administration to healthcare and education. In almost every sector, government agencies are using innovative digital solutions to simplify procedures, increase efficiency and improve services.

For example, the UAE is using blockchain technology to simplify and speed up bureaucratic processes. This will bring transparency and security to many industries, from financial services to real estate. In addition, the Emirates is developing and implementing systems based on artificial intelligence to make services more convenient for citizens and businesses.

GovTech and the challenges of digitalization
Although the UAE is actively seeking to diversify its economy and integrate digital technologies, the GovTech industry is still in its infancy.

For example, there is not yet a fully-fledged digital mortgage, although the capability for online transaction processing already exists. The process of buying property in the UAE is generally regarded as one of the most convenient and straightforward in the world. Approximately 20 per cent of transactions are done remotely, which is important for fast decision making. However, there are certain value thresholds and requirements for obtaining citizenship through property investment. It is important to note that obtaining a residency visa is a separate process that requires the submission of a whole package of documents and the applicant's presence in the UAE, which takes up to four weeks.

At the same time, the UAE government recognises these challenges and is working to overcome them. Steps have already been taken to simplify procedures and increase transparency in the public sector. The UAE is striving to become a global leader in GovTech and its initiatives in this area are eagerly awaited.

Banking System

The UAE's banking system is a modern, well-developed and dynamic structure that plays a vital role in the country's overall economic development of the country. There are more than 50 banks operating in the country, both local and foreign. The main regulator, stabiliser and supervisor of the entire banking sector is the UAE Central Bank.

One of the distinctive features of the UAE banking system is its ability to attract foreign investment. The openness, transparency and stability of the country's economy make the UAE attractive to investors from around the world. Investment in the banking sector The banking sector accounts for a significant share of total foreign investment inflows.

Another feature of the country's banking sector is its commitment to technology and innovation. Many financial institutions are actively using digital technology, artificial intelligence and blockchain in their operations.

Fintech industry and neo-banks
The UAE is one of the world's fintech innovation centres, with Dubai in particular being a hub for fintech innovation, attracting start-ups, investors and talent from around the world.

Government policies actively support the development of the fintech sector. A number of international and local organisations, including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the UAE Central Bank have launched their accelerators and innovation programmes to which support the development of fintech startups and provide them with unique opportunities to test and implement their solutions.

There are a growing number of startups and neobanks in the country looking to change the financial services landscape. Here are some of the most notable:

1. Now Money - is a startup that uses mobile technology to provide accounts, debit cards and money transfer services to low-income workers who typically do not have access to banking services.

2. Sarwa - is the region's first digital investment advisor. It investment by offering simple and affordable portfolios of investments.

3. Tabby - a startup offering BNPL (buy now, pay later) services that help consumers manage their spending more easily.

4. Liv. - A digital bank from Emirates NBD, one of the largest banks in the UAE. Liv. offers a fully digital banking experience aimed at a young and technologically generation.

5. E20. - is an innovative digital bank launched by Emirates NBD, aimed at entrepreneurs and small business owners. E20. All-digital banking helps manage money, tax planning and even sales and inventory management.

6. Mashreq Neo - is a digital bank from Mashreq Bank, one of the oldest and most banks in the UAE. Mashreq Neo offers a range of products and services including savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, investments, insurance and more.

7. CBD NOW - is the digital bank of the Commercial Bank of Dubai, that offers simple and intuitive banking solutions for those who prefer to bank online.


Why interim? Because we are confident that the Emirates will continue to surprise us. After all, the UAE is already a beacon of innovation and progress to the world, and is rightly the focus of attention for foreign investors, entrepreneurs and experts.

Although oil and gas remain important elements of the economy, the country is moving confidently towards diversification, actively developing the tourism, real estate, financial services and innovation sectors. The focus is on fintech and digitalisation, in which the Emirates aims to become a global leader.

We look forward to hearing news in these areas (to cover it all), and in parallel, we invite you to learn about fintech in other countries - in the "Welcome" section.

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