The Bahraini Government and the region's Central Bank are backing the creation of a new fintech hub in a 10,000 square metre space overlooking the waters of Bahrain Bay and the Arabian Gulf.
Scheduled to open in February 2018, the hub will comprise co-working spaces, communal areas, workstations, hot desks, and a variety of other shared infrastructure designed to attract international corporate innovation labs and fintech start-ups.
FinTech Consortium, which runs similar facilities in New York and Singapore, has been appointed as the operator and ecosystem builder for the new location.
The Central Bank of Bahrain in June opened a regulatory sandbox for fintech firms worldwide to test their technology ahead of live deployment in the Kingdom. The initiative followed the creation of a partnership between the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Singapore Fintech Consortium and asset management and advisory firm Trucial Investment Partners to develop a startup-friendly regulatory framework for the Kingdom.
H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, EDB chief executive says: “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.”
Bahrain provided greater opportunities for fintech businesses in 2014, when the CBB initiated two new license types - payment services and card processing services - marking the entry of non-banking companies into banking services. To date Bahrain has issued 14 licenses for these two activities.