Bahrain’s ongoing efforts to establish the Gulf nation as a regional center of financial innovation moved ahead this week with the announcement of Bahrain FinTech Bay, a facility designed to accelerate fintech companies that’s set to open in February 2018.
The venture was announced by the Bahrain Economic Development Board, the country’s investment promotion agency, which declared the new center will be the largest dedicated fintech hub in the Middle East and Africa.
“We are very excited about the opportunities that fintech presents in the region and in Bahrain’s ability to serve as a hub for innovation in this sector. We know that in order to realise these opportunities, it is vital to get the right ecosystem, including ensuring a supportive regulatory environment and infrastructure is in place,” said H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, in a press release.
The facility is being developed and managed by FinTech Consortium, a Singapore-based fintech incubator. The 10,000 square foot facility will include a variety of shared infrastructure, such as co-working spaces. The hub is partnered with governmental bodies, including Bahrain’s central bank, as well as financial institutions, consultancy firms, universities, venture capitalists and other fintech companies.
The announcement comes after Bahrain’s central bank issued rules in June 2017 for the creation of a regulatory framework allowing financial technology firms to test and experiment with banking ideas in the country. Then, in August, Bahrain announced the first two entrants to its fintech regulatory sandbox, London-based Tramonex and Dubai’s NOW Money.
Speaking about the launch of Bahrain FinTech Bay, Maissan Al Maskati, Chairman of FinTech Consortium Bahrain, said, “Bahrain today offers the most compelling and credible fintech proposition in the Middle East. It is the only regional financial centre to provide a complete offering for corporate and individual fintech innovators.”