MENA based Bank ABC has won two distinguished awards at Global Finance’s much-coveted The Innovators Awards -2023. The Bank’s innovation and digitization Centre, ABC Labs, has been named as one of “the World’s Best Financial Innovation Labs.

ABC bank is implementing the GCC region’s first blockchain based cross border instant payment solutions as well as CBDC project with the Central Bank of Bahrain. In 2020 The Central Bank of Bahrain collaborated with J P Morgan and Bank ABC in a pilot scheme to introduce instantaneous cross border payment solution leveraging state of the art technology and digital currency. The pilot was successfully completed in 2022. 

Bank ABC along with J.P. Morgan will pilot the transferring of funds from and to the Kingdom of Bahrain in US-Dollars for payments from buyers to suppliers. This will lead to suppliers being paid faster and buyers originating payments in shorter time periods without the need for holding funds in advance. The Central Bank of Bahrain will act as a close partner in the pilot between Bank ABC and J.P. Morgan and going forward would look to extend the collaboration to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

Global Finance’s Publisher & Editorial Director, Joseph Giarraputo notes, “Bank ABC continues to put digital innovation as a key strategic priority in providing world-class customer focused banking initiatives. It is playing a key role in the Gulf region’s first blockchain-based cross-border instant payment solution. Through ABC Labs, the Bank is collaborating with several central banks, including the Central Bank of Bahrain ‘CBB’, in studying and launching central bank digital currencies and is now scaling up its payment services for corporate clients.”

Bank ABC has also been presented with the ‘Top Innovations in Finance’ award, an accolade that underscores the Bank’s outstanding Digital Transformation Program which delivers an unparalleled, personalized banking experience to corporates and individuals.

The award was an acknowledgment of ABC bank’s commitment to emerging technologies such as AI, Blockchain and Data analytics.

Bank ABC’S Group CEO, Mr. Sael Al Waary said: “Innovation is at the heart of our strategy as we continue our digital transformation journey to build a more intuitive and sustainable bank of the future. We are honored and proud to accept this prestigious recognition for our world-class innovation lab, ABC Labs. This award acknowledges our commitment to staying ahead of the curve and embracing emerging technologies such as AI, Blockchain and Data Analytics. It is a testament to our commitment to delivering enhanced customer experiences and encourages us to continue to invest in our innovation and digital initiatives.”

Since inception, ABC Labs established the digital architecture and agile methodologies to enable the Bank’s strategic objectives. These steps enabled the launch of ‘ila Bank’ – a revolutionary digital mobile-only retail offering, and the development of an emotionally intelligent AI-powered digital assistant ‘Fatema’ among other achievements. Bank ABC’s digital transformation program has resulted in multiple ground-breaking digital deployments. Most recently, the Bank introduced a regional-first digital corporate onboarding service, reducing the account opening process to less than a day.  It is also digitising its Supply Chain Finance, Documentary Trade Finance and Cash management businesses.

UAE’s DMCC, freezone has awarded blockchain AI Columbian startup EatCloud with the Impact scale program award. EatCloud is one of three startups to win cash prizes of $49,000 for ‘DMCC Impact Scale-Up Program Powered by C3’.

The six-month program supports the growth of impact-driven businesses that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and it represents a part of DMCC’s ESG strategy. As the UAE prepares to host COP28 and lead the conversation that drives the global sustainability agenda, the program comes to an end. Fifteen impact-driven SMEs addressing some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges pitched their companies to a panel of business experts from PwC, Global Ventures, Astrolabs, and Brunswick in a pitch day that marked the end of the program.


The winners of the program are Grocedy, a Nigerian FoodTech platform that aggregates micropayments from low and middle-income earners towards a monthly food subscription and other micro financial services, EatCloud, a Colombian start-up that uses AI and blockchain technology to redistribute surplus food worldwide, reducing waste and supporting food banks globally, and Chefaa, an Egyptian GPS-enabled pharmacy benefits platform that allows patients to order, schedule and refill recurring prescriptions as well as all pharmacy needs. 

Feryal Ahmadi, Chief Operating Officer, DMCC, said, “As DMCC continues to place Dubai at the heart of global trade, it is essential that we also use our platform to have a positive impact on society. This is a momentous year for the UAE where sustainability is center-stage, and it is also integral to DMCC’s strategy. With 15 companies tackling some of the most pressing environmental and social issues we face today, the first edition of the DMCC Impact Scale-Up Program marks a great success in working towards this goal. Congratulations to all the participants in the program – we are excited to see your successes and your positive impact in the coming years.” 

Khalid Kalbat, Director of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Department at the Ministry of Economy of UAE, added, “This program is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to social and environmental impact and to promoting entrepreneurship in the region. I commend DMCC and C3 for their efforts in enabling participating businesses to establish a presence in the UAE and leverage our local ecosystem as a launchpad to successfully expand across the MEA region.”

 All SMEs participating in the program became part of DMCC’s fast-growing community of over 22,000 member companies, receiving a bespoke 70% discount on license fees and flexi-desk space for two years. Further discounts on license renewals will also be offered for the following three years.

This comes as DMCC signed on two major blockchain partnerships this week.