Emirates Development Bank Rolling out Digital Platform to Ease SME Lending

Updated by Ryan James
In Brief
  • The Emirates Development Bank has rolled out a digital platform to ease lending to the country’s SMEs, reaffirming its financial commitment to the country’s small business sector.
  • Meanwhile, virtual platform MeetsMeta has selected the UAE to launch the first virtual city, which will simulate reality through non-fungible tokens.
  • The UAE’s opening policy towards cryptocurrencies has seen a wave of crypto firms migrating to the Persian Gulf federation.
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The Emirates Development Bank has rolled out a digital platform to ease lending to the country’s SMEs, reaffirming its financial commitment to the country’s small business sector.

The digital platform will enable small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as startups, in the United Arab Emirates to open an account and reserve an IBAN number within hours. Over 1,000 of these digital accounts have already been created since the launch of the new service. 

“It is critical that businesses, entrepreneurs and SMEs have access to the financing they need to scale, expand and succeed,” EDB CEO Ahmed Al Naqbi said during events marking Arab Day for Financial Inclusion on April 27. “The goals of financial inclusion are also served by our unique evaluation of a company’s eligibility for financing based on its economic development impact.” SMEs comprise roughly 98% of the total companies operating in the UAE.

Meanwhile, virtual platform MeetsMeta has selected the UAE to launch the first virtual city, which will simulate reality through non-fungible tokens, serving as another digital development within the Persian Gulf federation. “The UAE provides an ideal environment for launching MeetsMeta in the region,” said MeetsMeta founder Mohamed Khaled. “The UAE strongly supports business growth and investments in cryptocurrency.”

UAE’s crypto migration

Last week, crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital moved its headquarters from Singapore to the UAE. “The energy in Dubai’s digital asset industry is electric right now,” said Three Arrows’ co-founder Su Zhu. “I’m looking forward to meeting more technology startups.”

Also over the past week, Kraken became the latest in a slew of cryptocurrency exchanges to be granted a license to operate in the UAE. The virtual asset platform was granted permission to trade by the Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Registration Authority and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority. According to Dhaher bin Dhaher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Registration Authority, Kraken has established a regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi and wants to begin operating a fully regulated trading platform there by the second or third quarter of this year.

Earlier last month, Binance also received approval to operate in Abu Dhabi, marking a further expansion into the UAE by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.

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