According to the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) Financial Services Executive Director, David Parker, Bahrain is planning on collaborating with Malaysia’s financial sector since both markets are in similar development phases when it comes to the FinTech sector.
“We can work on our strengths because Malaysia and Bahrain both have relatively newly implemented policies when it comes to fintech. I get the sense that Malaysia and Bahrain are at a similar stage as both countries have launched sandboxes, both have innovation-friendly regulators, (and) an Islamic fintech agenda and set to catch up with the likes of London or Singapore,” he said.
Moreover, Belfrics Global, the Malaysian Bitcoin technology provider has recently secured the first sandbox license from the Central Bank of Bahrain. With the license, Belfrics are able to test their financial technology in Bahrain, which further helps the country to become a leading FinTech hub in the MENA region.
“We are also looking at blockchain. We are looking at transforming how the country goes about performing its business transactions.There are exciting times ahead. We have come a long way in a short space of time and I am intrigued to see what happens in the next couple of years,” said David.
David added that the financial sector in Bahrain is currently the biggest contributor to the country’s GDP right after oil and gas, at 17%. He stated that Bahrain has been undergoing a lot of economic diversification and that the EDB has been monitoring it from their 15 offices across the globe while staying up to date with the market trends.