12th January 2018

First MENA Fintech arrangement agreed between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) have entered into a Fintech cooperation agreement, marking a significant first in the MENA region.

The agreement represents a leap forward in promoting the region as a connected and collaborative environment for Fintech to thrive in. It provides a framework for information sharing, and for facilitating the movement of start-ups, knowledge and talent between the two jurisdictions. With the new partnership, Bahrain EDB and ADGM will explore initiatives to promote economic growth in financial services through the adoption of new technology.

Richard Teng, Chief Executive Office, Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM, said: “We are excited to witness the first Fintech MoU between two MENA jurisdictions. Together, we advocate and see the MENA region as a continuous whole and look to leverage each other’s strengths to anchor a vibrant Fintech ecosystem.

"From our close discussions with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, and especially at the first Regional Regulators’ Fintech Roundtable recently in Abu Dhabi, it is clear we value the importance of collaboration and mutual support in any relevant manner. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our partner in building a more connected, collaborative network among our fellow regulators in the MENA region to cater to the rapid pace of Fintech growth here.”

David Parker, Executive Director, Financial Services, at Bahrain EDB, said: “We have seen exciting momentum in Fintech in Bahrain and across the region over the last year. The Fintech sector has witnessed approximately US $50bn in investment globally, but the MENA region has received only about 1 per cent of that. In Bahrain, we recognise that there is great potential for growth in this sector and we are capitalising on this by creating the right ecosystem.

"This MoU marks another inspiring moment in our regional development. In Bahrain, an ongoing series of legal and regulatory reforms are supporting easy access to a wide range of new opportunities, including a Fintech sandbox and support for both conventional and Shari’a-compliant crowdfunding. We look forward to this agreement leading to the rapid development of even more initiatives across the region.”