Bahrain Signs MoU with Kerala for Cooperation in FinTech, ICT & IoT Startups

SI TeamOn the 9th of October (2019) the investment promotion agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain – the EDB (Economic Development Board) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) - the Kerala government body for supporting tech-start-ups in the state. The Memorandum aims to present a framework for co-operation between the two entities to promote innovation in their respective markets pertaining to advancements in the fields of Fintech, ICT and related emerging technologies. The signing took place in Dubai, where both parties were attending the 39th annual GITEX Technology Week. Commenting on the positivity and growth prospective Dr. Saji Gopinath, KSUM CEO said, “Building a robust ecosystem where Fintech start-ups and IT firms can access and engage with critical soft infrastructure such as universities, financial institutions and government agencies will be a key enabler for growth and innovation in the Fintech and ICT sectors. These are priority areas for both Kerala and Bahrain, and we are immensely excited to build even further upon where we are already seeing incredible growth with this timely new partnership.” With a key focus of the MoU being, the growth of business opportunities for each
country’s start-ups in the other’s market, the scope of cooperation also includes the facilitation of delegation visits to Bahrain and India.

This also includes collaboration on knowledge exchange and best practice regarding education programmes and curricula, including facilitating and enhancing cooperation between relevant parties such as financial and technological institutions, universities and research institutions, technology experts, and government agencies. Further the deal aims to facilitate the development and growth of FinTech and ICT start-ups and centres via support from hubs such as Bahrain Fintech Bay, Brinc Batelco IoT Accelerator, Flat6 Labs Bahrain, Brilliant Lab and KSUM Hub.

Additionally this co-operation facilitates the exploration of innovation projects in areas like digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms (API), AML and other emerging areas in the Fintech & ICT space. “This is an excellent opportunity for Kerala start-ups to take advantage of Bahrain’s thriving ecosystem. With the lowest setup and operating costs, some of the most advanced supportive infrastructure and one of the most skilled labour forces in the region, there is no better destination for startups seeking to access and scale across the growing $1.5 trillion GCC markets,” added Ms Dharmi Magdani, Bahrain EDB Regional Director for India.

In conclusion, over the years Bahrain & India have enjoyed commercial ties for thousands of years with trade currently standing at some $1.3 billion. FinTech and ICT are already a key focus for collaboration between the two countries, with a similar MoU signed by the EDB and the Government of Maharashtra last year. Indian cryptocurrency exchange Belfrics is one of several FinTechs testing innovative technologies in Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox, and in the first half of 2019 alone, eight new projects in Bahrain’s ICT sector were started by Indian companies – more than any other country – bringing investments worth more than $3 million. This longstanding relationship was brought to new heights in August with the state visit to Bahrain by Narendra Modi – the first ever visit to the Kingdom by an Indian Prime Minister.