Global consultancy Roland Berger has partnered with Bahrain FinTech Bay in the launch of the new Global Islamic & Sustainable FinTech Center in Bahrain.
Officially established at the beginning of this year, Bahrain FinTech Bay, a co-working and shared infrastructure initiative supporting the development of financial technology innovation in the Kingdom, has now launched the Global Islamic & Sustainable FinTech Center (GISFC) with a range of local and international members to help drive the next phase of growth in Islamic finance through fintech.
“Islamic finance has the potential to onboard over a billion new customers through the use of technology, helping attain sustainable and long-term growth,” Bahrain FinTech Bay CEO Khalid Saad said of the new centre. “Through the launch of GISFC, we aim to bring together key stakeholders in the industry to help shed light on how FinTech can help attain such growth in a sustainable and responsible manner.”
Among the broad array of launch partners for the GISFC are a range of Islamic finance and fintech organisations spanning the Middle East and Southeast Asia, together with the German-headquartered global management consultancy Roland Berger, which originally joined Bahrain FinTech Bay as a founding partner and has had an association with the Kingdom dating back for more than a decade.Ali Adnan Ibrahim, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and head of Sustainability & Social Responsibility at the Al Baraka Banking Group in Bahrain, will serve as Chairman of GISFC, adding to his chair role for the Sustainable Development Committee of the Bahrain Association of Banks. “We are delighted to have someone of Dr. Ali’s calibre to head such an important initiative,” Saad said.
Ibrahim responded: “I am deeply honoured by this trust. Islamic finance and sustainability share a huge common ground. While Islamic finance is fast approaching the three trillion dollar mark, sustainability is one of history’s biggest disruptors. Islamic and sustainability FinTech solutions can help solve several social and economic challenges, and, while doing so, such solutions will create massive economic value including investment opportunities for individuals and businesses.”
The Bahrain Fintech Bay has already attracted 30 companies since its inception, with the aim of 50 to 60, according to Maissan Almaskati, Bahrain FinTech Bay executive board member and Chairman of FinTech Consortium Bahrain (which oversees and established the hub together with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain). Other members of the Bahrain Fintech Bay board include former EY partner Yaser Alsharifi and current Alvarez & Marsal Managing Director Saeeda Jaffar.
In an effort to drive the development of the Islamic FinTech sector through thought leadership and expertise in shariah-compliant fintech, the GISFC will aim to onboard more partners over time, adding a list which includes among others the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and South-East Asia’s Islamic Fintech Alliance in addition to Roland Berger.