Our thoughts were fixed on FinTech in February as Bahrain hosted its first ever Fintastic Bahrain Week. More than 700 regional and global leaders helped shine a spotlight on digital transformation in the industry during a week of finance-filled events, workshops and talks.
The highlight was the seventh annual GCC Financial Forum, co-hosted by Euromoney Conferences and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). The conference welcomed bankers, policymakers, investors, economists, and regional financiers, who came together to debate today’s most pressing challenges.
With a core focus on innovation, attendees discussed FinTech, blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data, paying particular attention to how these technologies will influence financial markets in the GCC in the coming years.
Victoria Behn, Middle East and Africa Director, Euromoney Conferences, expressed how “honoured” Euromoney Conferences were to host the seventh GCC Financial Forum, which focused on the theme of ‘innovation and the future of financial services’. She commented: “This year’s conference [was] uniquely tailored to explore the implications of the continued convergence of finance and technology for the industry in the GCC.” A strong delegation of innovators keen to create disruptive change proved the pertinence of such a theme, and further cemented the GCC Financial Forum as an unmissable event in the region’s financial calendar.
Apart from Euromoney, a Trusts Law talk kicked off the week, as industry leaders explored how new legislative reforms are making possible investment structures not previously available in the GCC.
Another ‘fintastic’ event included the 9th Rowad Majlis hosted by Rowad, a leading Bahrain-based platform which supports investors and young businesses at all stages of the startup journey. Dubbed “Cryptechnight 2.0”, a fireside chat on crowdfunding and cryptech was held with Peter Tavener, COO of Beehive – the MENA region’s first and only regulated peer to peer lending platform. The event held discussions and workshops uncovering details of larger FinTech ecosystems.
FinTech startup deals in the MENA region currently stand at $66.6 million according to MAGNiTT. These startups were able to involve themselves in several discussions and exercises during the conference week, with a special emphasis being placed on FinTech growth and opportunity.
Fintastic Week culminated with the launch of Bahrain FinTech Bay – now the largest dedicated FinTech hub in the MENA region, opening the Kingdom’s doors to the world’s most innovative and exciting technological solutions.
Read more about the Bahrain FinTech Bay here.