Bahrain is spearheading investment in the lucrative fintech industry in order to position itself as a major financial hub.
The global fintech market in Q1 2017 saw a total investment of $3.2 billion across 260 deals, according to the Q1 2017 edition of The Pulse of Fintech, KPMG International’s quarterly report on fintech investment.
The investments in fintech from Bahrain has a second aim of spurring entrepreneurship and supporting fintech start-ups in the country to facilitate further growth of this rapidly growing sector.
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is adopting a new program that facilitates a regulatory sandbox for fintech start-ups.
This new move from CBB enables businesses and fintech start-ups to have access to and work with banking tools and solutions.
Financial banking ideas from entrepreneurs focusing on fintech are also welcomed by CBB in an attempt to drive further investment in the industry.
Participants of the CBB program would get their own virtual space to test their fintech solution for a nine-month duration.
The development of fintech technology in Bahrain can help to diversify the economy at large. additionally, tapping into the sector would support the next generation of businesses, drive growth and increase productivity.
Bahrain has been pioneering innovation in technology for years, being a key player in creating innovative products that are in line with the rise in technological advancement.
“There has been a significant push to promote Bahrain as a regional fintech hub. Bahrain offers the right regulatory environment, extremely competitive operating costs, government support, funding support and a financial services sector that is ready to work with.
“We do see a lot of potential of fintech companies collaborating with financial services players to transform the financial services sector in Bahrain and the region,” Jalil AlAali, Partner and Head of Financial Services at KPMG in Bahrain, said.
Al Ali further stated that, “we are also shortly launching a fintech survey with businesses in the financial services sector in Bahrain, which will benchmark the fintech strategies and readiness of Bahrain-based financial institutions to do business with the rest of the world”.
Many key global financial players such as Singapore have entered into partnerships with the Kingdom of Bahrain to develop a fintech ecosystem.
In March 2017, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) created a partnership with fintech incubator and ecosystem builder Singapore Fintech Consortium (SFC) to establish a fintech ecosystem and regulatory framework.
There are a number of other potential initiatives, which are considered to be in line with the strategy to build an ecosystem such as, building a dedicated fintech hub, an incubator accelerator platform and fintech-focused venture capital portal.
EDB are confident that Bahrain will develop itself into a regional center for financial technology and provide a pathway for enterprises that want to tap into the opportunities that the Middle East economic and capital markets can bring to the global fintech industry.