Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced plans to launch a fintech accelerator in Dubai in association with professional service company Accenture.

The new accelerator, dubbed FinTech Hive at DIFC, will give selected technology entrepreneurs and firms the opportunity to develop and test their innovations in collaboration with DIFC executives and regional financial institutions. Participants will be identified through a competitive process.

Expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017, the accelerator aims to address multiple areas such as trade finance, alternative finance including P2P payments, and Sharia-based services.

FinTech Hive at DIFC will be set up and operated by Accenture.

Accenture senior managing director of financial services in Europe, Africa and Latin America Sushil Saluja said: “By putting together local banks and FinTech firms to ideate, collaborate and partner, DIFC is helping both sectors be at the forefront of the financial services industry.

“The accelerator programme will identify the best entrepreneurs within the financial services industry and grant them invaluable access to, and feedback from, potential customers and funders.”

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The financial providers currently joining the programme are Emirates NBD, Mashreq, HSBC and VISA.

DIFC Authority CEO Arif Amiri said: “In 2004, DIFC led the development of global financial services by linking the top financial centres around the world to the region. The FinTech Hive at DIFC is a continuation of our vision to link, develop, and adapt top financial technologies to the region.”