Standard Chartered has formed an alliance with Bahrain Fintech Bay to keep tabs on innovative startups operating in the Greater Middle East.
The partners say they will work to provide thought leadership, mentorship programs and collaboration on key initiatives taking place in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) fintech ecosystem.
Abdulla Bukhowa, CEO, Standard Chartered Bahrain, says: “Given Bahrain’s position as one of the leading fintech hubs in the region, we are confident that the fintech sector will continue to grow, especially with the nurturing and cultivating environment Bahrain offers.
“As we celebrate 100 years of being in Bahrain, we strongly believe in the need for innovation to stay relevant to our markets. We continue to invest and innovate in our digital offerings for clients. This allows us to extend our reach and provide offerings that reflects the changing needs and preferences of our clients.”
In November 2019, The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) announced a fast track system to expedite firm registration, to promote startups across the broader Mena region. The Kingdom of Bahrain is competing with the likes of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia to become region’s fintech centre and provides a regulatory sandbox to firms to test within.
When announcing the fast-track system the EDB said: “The Kingdom's pioneering, agile and flexible regulatory framework allows it to regulate emerging technologies - such as open banking and cryptocurrencies - in a way other jurisdictions simply cannot. Thanks to this, Bahrain has earned a reputation as the region's de facto test-bed for cutting edge technologies.”
Khalid Saad, CEO, Bahrain Fintech Bay adds: “Bahrain FinTech Bay continues to strategically grow its local and international ecosystem. The partnership with Standard Chartered…will aim to further develop Bahrain’s FinTech ecosystem drawing on Standard Chartered’s global presence and innovation lead initiatives.”