Despite the Dubai economy being projected to contract by 6.2% this year, with the travel and hospitality industries hit really hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country saw a significant increase in bank financing for its communications, storage, and transport sectors. There was also solid growth in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Fintech space with many more firms acquiring operational licenses.
The Dubai Statistics Centre notes that activity in the nation’s hospitality and food services industries fell by 34.6% during H1 2020 when compared to the same time period from last year. Real estate, a major part of Dubai’s modern economy, saw overall activity decline by 3.7%.
However, Dubai's financial sector reported fairly positive numbers, with activity actually increasing 1.4% despite COVID-related challenges. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has added 310 new firms during H1 2020, which represents a 25% increase compared to the same period in 2019. There are currently 2,584 active firms operating in the free zone.
There was also an increase in new Fintech firms, as 87 new fintechs joined the DIFC during the first half of 2020, culminating in a 75% year-on-year (YoY) increase.