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January-March 2019

How Bahrain plans to become a regional fintech hub

Bahrain’s government wants to make the country the go-to place in the Middle East for financial technology companies (fintechs). With the dawn of the digital age, it hopes to capitalise on its banking know-how to establish an ambitious fintech “ecosystem”. Bahrain currently hosts about 400 domestic, regional and international financial institutions. According to Khalid Al Rumaihi, CEO of the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB), there is a “national keenness to explore collaboration between banks and fintechs to adopt innovative solutions”. “Key factors supporting the fintech ecosystem include Bahrain’s human capital, a highly progressive and liberalised ICT infrastructure and our increased push to drive entrepreneurship,” said Rumaihi. Globally, the fintech sector attracted 1,824 investment deals totalling $14.2bn of venture capital investment in 2017, according to the Bahrain fintech ecosystem report 2018. Within the Middle East, the number of fintech startups is expected to reach 250 by 2020, said the report. Bahrain’s ...

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