Global tech innovator and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will take centre stage at GCC Financial Forum, part of Fintastic Week
Bahrain’s central role in the rapidly developing world of FinTech will be celebrated later this month with a series of conferences and seminars for experts from the global financial and technology communities.
Fintastic Week will be held in Bahrain between February 24-29 and is set to attract over 1,000 delegates from the worlds of business, government and academia.
Events will also include best practice workshops for start-ups and fireside conversations with respected FinTech pioneers and leaders.
Fintastic Week will see Bahrain hosting the eighth GCC Financial Forum between February 26-27, when global tech innovator and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will take centre stage and share his thoughts and predictions on the current and future state of the global financial technology industry.
Other notable speakers at event include Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and National Economy, and Louise Beaumont, co-chair of the Open Banking & Payments Working group, at Tech UK.
Victoria Behn, director of Middle East and Africa at Euromoney Conferences, co-organisers of the GCC Financial Forum said: “With international financiers, senior regional policymakers and leading fintech firms attending from across the Middle East, the GCC Financial Forum will once again be an unmissable event.”
She said the disruptive power of FinTech is being increasingly felt across the Middle East as governments look to diversify their economies and improve productivity through increased uptake of innovation and technology.
Such transformation is showing through in the numbers already, with GCC start-ups expected to raise $2 billion of private funding in the next decade, in comparison to only £150 million in the previous ten years, she added.
Reforms have taken place across the region, such as open banking, regulatory sandboxes and the updating of regulations to reflect the digitised economy.
Bahrain has been at the forefront of these efforts, often collaborating with global partners, including the Global Financial Innovation Network, a coalition of 11 financial regulators including from the UK, US, Hong Kong and Australia seeking to design and implement a global sandbox. It also launched the region’s first FinTech incubator, Bahrain FinTech Bay, which has a roster of international supporters including Microsoft, Cisco and American Express.
Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, a co-host of Fintastic Week, said: “The FinTech space in the Middle East is growing and its opportunities and potential are being recognised by the global FinTech community. In Bahrain, we are building on our heritage of excellence in financial services by developing innovative new products and services that will transform how consumers and businesses right across the region approach this sector, and events such as Fintastic Week bring these fresh and new ideas to the table.
“As we look to diversify our sources of growth, FinTech will play an increasingly important role in creating coordinated, agile and action orientated economies across the region. That is why Fintastic Week is so important. It will bring together like-minded individuals and companies who want to take advantage of this opportunity and work together to achieve a more financially inclusive and sustainable future.”
Other Fintastic Week events include the third Middle East & Africa FinTech Forum, a bankruptcy law seminar, RegFact Conference 2019 and the BDB Rowad Majlis ‘Fireside Debate’.