Bahrain launches largest fintech hub in MENA region
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and FinTech Consortium (FTC) have launched Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB), the “largest dedicated fintech hub in the Middle East and Africa”.
The new hub aims to further the development and acceleration of firms as well as the interaction between investors, entrepreneurs, government bodies and financial institutions.
BFB, with an area of over 10,000 square feet of usable space, is located in the Arcapita building in the capital of Manama, overlooking the waters of Bahrain Bay and the Arabian Gulf. Sounds nice. Scheduled to open in February 2018, it will comprise co-working spaces, communal areas, workstations, hot desks, and a variety of other shared infrastructure.
Gerben Visser, co-founder of the FTC, says: “With the strong support from the Bahraini government and Central Bank and a world-class infrastructure, we are confident that BFB will contribute to the future-proofing of Bahrain’s financial centre.”
FTC is the operator and ecosystem builder of BFB. FTC will “apply physical and digital solutions” to manage the hub, as well as integrate BFB into its platforms, including blockchain, insurtech and regtech.
FTC already runs hubs in New York and Singapore.
Age of ambition
Bahrain has been trying to do a lot more in the fintech space.
In August, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) welcomed the first members to its new regulatory sandbox – mobile banking firm Now Money and finserv provider Tramonex.
In March, Bahrain looked to Singapore’s success as it tries to boost its fintech fortunes with a new ecosystem and regulatory framework. EDB, Singapore Fintech Consortium (SFC) and Dubai-based asset management firm Trucial Investment Partners teamed up for these development plans.
By the way, David Parker, executive director, financial services, EDB, recently discussed “The rise of Islamic fintech, global opportunities for Bahrain”.