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Funding to the global FinTech sector grew from just under $51 billion in 2017 to about $112 billion last year, claims a new KPMG report. That stands for a whopping 120 percent year-on-year growth.

The second half of 2018 was particularly lucrative for the sector with a number of emerging FinTech firms scoring billions in funding from investors worldwide. Among them were the $17 billion bagged by Refinitiv from Blackstone, the acquisition of Backhalf Network by Silver Lake and P2 Capital for $3.5 billion, the $3.4 billion deal that got Francisco Partners a majority stake in Verifone, as well as PayPal’s $2.2 billion-worth acquisition of iZettle.

As for the number of deals, H2 2018 was somewhat colder than the preceding six months but still managed to do a marginally better job as compared to the corresponding period in 2017. Compared to 2,165 deals in H2 2017, the total number of deals inked by FinTech companies in the second half of last year stood at 2,196.

Speaking on the findings of the new report, dubbed KPMG Pulse of FinTech, Islam Al Bayaa Head of Advisory at KPMG Al Fozan & Partners in Saudi, stated: “The growing deal sizes, higher levels of M&A activity and the geographic spread of deals all highlight the increasing maturation of the FinTech sector on a global scale.”

He added: “FinTech investment expected to remain strong in 2019 despite increasing uncertainty, while geopolitical volatility and trade concerns could put a damper on FinTech investment in 2019, the strong diversity of global FinTech hubs, and the strengthening of subsectors, should contribute to continued growth. AI and automation are expected to remain very hot for areas technology investors”

The Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region are expected to witness spectacular growth in FinTech over the next few years, with countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and UAE capitalizing on the sector’s growth to spearhead the efforts to help the region shed its dependence on the oil economy.