Abu Dhabi

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In Brief

With technology and entrepreneurialism taking a prominent position in UAE and with increasing investments throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi, such initiatives as ‘Ghadan 21’ and Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 hope to drive FinTech and R&D to the forefront.


By this measure, Abu Dhabi can be seen as both an active enabler of technology and a technology-powered financial hub in the UAE

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial centre established on English Common Law, has a comprehensive set of regulatory frameworks that support the adoption of FinTech innovation.

ADGM introduced a digital sandbox – the Digital Lab – that allows financial institutions and FinTechs to collaborate, test and develop innovation solutions under the supervision of the financial regulator

ADGM has also established an academy to deliver world-class financial education and literacy through a wide range of globally-recognised educational and experiential programmes.

In Abu Dhabi, to form a LLC the minimum capital requirement is AED 150,000.

As part of ‘Ghadan 21’, AED4 billion was allocated to a R&D fund. It was created to help private companies, which will be able to apply for financial assistance. Rebates of up to 50% on a company’s R&D spending will be offered, with a further 25% if a product reaches the market.

Hub71, a tech hub located in the heart of Abu Dhabi that brings together key enablers for startups to succeed, provides access to incentive and funding schemes, accelerator programmes, favourable business environment and global markets.

Beam Wallet:
Beam Wallet allows customers to link their credit card to its app for cashless shopping experience.


Enabler for consumer-to-business card payments by creating the capabilities to allow businesses to display QR codes to scan & pay.


Aqeed is an insurance technology company that aims to make insurance simple, transparent, and accessible via digital platforms powered by the cloud and AI.

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Market Summary


Abu Dhabi is the largest emirates, and over the recent decades, it has undergone a significant transformation in economic growth. While recognising the success of the oil sector, Abu Dhabi is working hard to reduce its hydrocarbons reliance; investment in infrastructure, tourism, transport, health and education is continuing, in line with the government’s 2030 economic plan.


Abu Dhabi boasts one of the highest per capita incomes and one of the lowest crime rates in the world.


Abu Dhabi is ruled by H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the President of the UAE since 3 November 2004.


GDP grew 2.7% to $55.8bn in Q3 2019, with particular growth in oil, transportation & storage, electricity, gas, water supply and waste management sectors.


‘Ghadan 21’ is a three-year initiative by the Abu Dhabi Government with a AED50 billion development plan. It focuses on four main tenets: business and investment, society, knowledge and innovation and lifestyle.


Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 is a long-term plan for the transformation of the emirate’s economy. The plan includes a reduced reliance on the oil sector and a greater focus on knowledge-based industries in the future.

Fast facts

Population: 1.45 million out of 9.4 million (UAE)
Language: Arabic (official), English widespread in business
Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
Political System: Federal constitutional monarchy

Legal System: Federal Court System based on civil code principles and on the Islamic Sharia law

IA Partner

ADGM is an International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi established on English Common Law.  Underpinned by a robust, progressive and responsive legislative framework, ADGM offers business and financial institutions a trusted and well-regulated environment to access the substantial growth opportunities in UAE, and the wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. Click the logo to find out more.

FinTech Hub

A community hub and global tech ecosystem located in ADGM that brings together start-ups and founders, investors, tech companies and business enablers. Click the logo to find out more.

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