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Bahrain is predominantly an oil-based economy and has been looking to diversify its exports as it continues to look for alternatives to fossil fuels.
One area in which Bahrain is investing its resources has led to the country becoming a prominent player in banking within the MENA region. The evolution of FinTech was the primary source of this breakthrough.
The FinTech and Innovation Unit was launched as part of the Central Bank of Bahrain’s initiative to nurture Bahrain’s FinTech ecosystem and transform the country into a financial hub. It aims to create a regulatory environment to support and reinforce further investments in FinTech.
Bahrain launched the “Bahrain Fintech Bay” which is the region’s largest Fintech incubator in collaboration with 30 corporate partners. The BFB works in conjunction with a network of global innovation hubs located in Silicon Valley and Singapore to promote the free flow of knowledge and market access within this network.
Al Baraka Banking Group, Kuwait Finance House and Bahrain Development Bank also launched the first global Islamic FinTech consortium to support the Islamic finance industry. The consortium, ALGO Bahrain, aims to allow Islamic banks to research, innovate, and develop FinTech solutions in a cost efficient manner.
NEC (Nonoo Exchange Company):
Digital banking and payments technology company, cloud-ready technology solutions that support blockchain, virtual cards, KYC and AML control.
AFS (Arab Financial Services):
Leading payment solutions provider and FinTech enabler that offers technology platforms for card processing and and value added services.
Benefit (Bahrain’s Electronic Network For Financial Transactions):
Key source for all electronic financial transactions throughout Bahrain. Provides national e-wallet payment system, BenefitPay.
PIE (Payment International Enterprise):
Offers value chain of cashless payment on a one-stop basis.
An Ancillary Service Provider focusing on providing Biometric technologies and innovative solutions.
BFC (Bahrain Financing Company):
Leading Money Transfer and Currency Exchange company in Bahrain.
Market News & Updates
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Bahrain was one of the first countries in the Middle East to discover crude oil, and oil and gas play a dominant role in Bahrain’s economy. Though oil revenues continue to provide a sizeable proportion of Bahrain’s gross domestic product (GDP), the country is looking for diversification of its economy with gradual expansion into financial services, real estate and construction, and manufacturing sectors. Bahrain is also actively targeting private investment for its infrastructure. Bahrain’s GDP grew by 1.8% in 2017 despite a stagnation of the oil sector.
Bahrain maintains a diverse and multicultural population with approximately 50% expatriates. It also has supportive visa policies, considered as one of the most flexible in the region.
Bahrain implemented the first Free Trading Agreement with the United States in August 2006. Bahrain is also a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Gulf Cooperation Council.