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Bahrain steps closer to become “The Global FinTech Hub” with this collaboration

Bahrain hopes to work hand in hand with Malaysia’s financial sector since both markets are in the similar development stage with regards to financial technology (FinTech), according to Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) financial services executive director David Parker.

“We can work on our strengths because Malaysia and Bahrain both have relatively newly implemented policies when it comes to FinTech. I get the sense that Malaysia and Bahrain are at a similar stage as both countries have launched sandboxes, both have innovation-friendly regulators, (and) an Islamic FinTech agenda and set to catch up with the likes of London or Singapore,” he added

“Moving forward, we would love to do this in partnership with Malaysia in getting to become the next global FinTech hub,” he said in an interview with NST Business.

If you haven’t heard already, Malaysian Bitcoin technology provider Belfrics Global successfully secured the first sandbox license by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

The license lets Belfrics test their FinTech solutions in Bahrain, a stepping stone for the country to become a leading FinTech hub in the region.

Additionally, Bahrain’s CBB achieved its Regulatory Sandbox Framework in June.

“We are also looking at blockchain. We are looking at transforming how the country goes about performing its business transactions.There are exciting times ahead. We have come a long way in a short space of time and I am intrigued to see what happens in the next couple of years,” said David.

He also mentioned that the financial services sector in Bahrain offered a substantial the contribution to the country’s gross domestic product after oil and gas, at 17%.

“We are seeing a much stronger push from entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, not just in finance but (also) across the board. It is an exciting time for the whole region and this is the direction our economy needs to go, especially since Bahrain is less dependent on oil compared with its neighbors.We are now seeing a lot of diversification across our economy and we are monitoring that from our 15 offices across the globe, and keep in touch with market trends there,” added David.

Nothing beats doing business in Bahrain with ease like having 100% foreign ownership across all sectors, including no onshore/offshore or free zone restrictions.

Parker believes that these perks are great for startups in reducing regulatory frictions and costs.

Bahrain has developed key elements for a thriving FinTech ecosystem, including a proficient regulator with years of experience as a financial center, alternative funding vehicles such as the crowdfunding regulation for conventional and shariah-compliant markets, cutting-edge digital infrastructure with a talented population.