In a bid to promote Bahrain as a financial tech hub, the Middle Eastern country is seeking participation from Indian firms to become a part of the growing fintech space in the region.
Bahrain provides a plethora of opportunities to Indian fintech firms for open banking, the blockchain, crypto assets, robo advisory and remittances.
Financial service sector is the second biggest contributor to the GDP behind oil and gas and the effort is to grow the sector further, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) Senior Manager (business development – financial services) Dalal Buhejji said.
“Central Bank of Bahrain has put in the right ecosystem to support growth and innovation. We have seen different new regulations coming out recently to support open banking, crypto asset trade regulation and draft regulation on robo advisory,” she said.
Bahrain acts as the test bed for innovations in financial services space as the country provides many advantages including low cost of doing business, right accelerator and incubators, among others, she said, adding some Indian companies have applied for sandbox.
Generally, sandbox is seen as a safe zone to test financial innovation which sees a limited rollout of new products to select customers.
Terming India as a key market, Buhejji said EDB had a roadshow in Mumbai to attract fintech companies in December.
The EDB, the investment promotion arm of Bahrain, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government to provide a framework for co-operation to promote fintech in their respective markets.
To promote startups, a public private partnership platform in the name of Bahrain Fintech Bay has been created that provides physical space for fintech companies.
Established last year, it has now become a home for 36 companies from 15 different countries, Bahrain Fintech Bay CEO Khalid Saad said.
“India is absolutely key market. We do have couple of companies founded by Indian entrepreneurs in Bahrain and the other Malaysian-Indian company in the cryto asset space,” he said.