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UAE Central Bank Launches Programme to Accelerate Digital Transformation

February 14, 2023

UAE Central Bank Launches Programme to Accelerate Digital Transformation

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) has launched a Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) programme in an effort to accelerate the digital transformation of financial services in the region. 

The goal of the FIT programme is to support the financial services sector and promote digital transactions in the UAE. The programme’s end goal is to support the UAE in becoming a global financial and digital payment hub.

UAE’s central bank launched the FIT programme as part of a wider strategy looking to make it one of the top central banks across the globe. The programme was also launched in alignment with the vision of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister of the UAE and chairman of the CBUAE’s board of directors.

Preparing the UAE for the ‘digital decade’ 

The central bank’s new programme is comprised of nine key initiatives. The first stage includes a series of digital payment infrastructures and services. As part of this, the programme sees the launch of a card domestic scheme, an instant payments platform and the issuance of a CBDC for cross-border and domestic uses.

These digital payment initiatives aim to drive financial inclusion, promote payment innovation, security and
efficiency, as well as achieve a cashless society.

The FIT programme will also see the CBUAE adopt advanced supervisory technologies and data management solutions to implement strong supervisory processes and better ensure financial stability.

As the UAE looks to prepare itself and its economy for the ‘digital decade’ the next stage of the initiative is to develop and implement a range of digital infrastructures. These include the establishment of financial cloud, eKYC and open finance platforms. The UAE hopes these will improve regulatory compliance, reduce operation costs, promote greater levels of innovation, and enhance customer experience. Ultimately, the programme aims to strengthen the region’s security and “operational resilience”.

‘Support a thriving UAE financial ecosystem’ 

H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama, governor of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, also discussed the new programme. He said: “The FIT Programme embodies the directions and aspirations of our wise leadership towards digitising the economy as well as developing the financial sector. We are proud to be building an infrastructure that will support a thriving UAE financial ecosystem and its future growth.

“We will work with our partners to implement the programme and achieve its goals. Our aim is to also accelerate the adoption of digital services in the financial sector and attract the best talent.”

Currently, full integration is planned for completion in 2026. The FIT Programme is introduced in support of the country’s ‘We the UAE 2031‘ vision and national digital economy strategy.

The UAE’s ‘We the UAE 2031‘ vision is based on four pillars; looking to:

  1. Forward Society – Advancements in education, health care, human development and more.
  2. Forward Economy – Increase non-oil exports and utilise alternative sources of energy. Also includes plans to raise the UAE’s GDP.
  3. Forward Diplomacy – Raise the UAE’s presence internationally and strengthen cooperative endeavors with allied nations.
  4. Forward Ecosystem – Places a focus on efficient government services, food security, and digital security and growth including infrastructure development

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