The event is being held with the strategic partnership of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and support from other industry partners including the Responsible Finance and Investment Foundation (RFI), a global non-profit organisation focused on building awareness, promoting research and encouraging convergence in responsible finance.
The inaugural forum will focus on Islamic Fintech and will be comprised of two moderated roundtables: “Islamic Fintech – Adopting an Innovation Agenda” and “Human Capital Development: Supporting Sustain Growth and Fintech Innovation.” Each roundtable will discuss various topics including the important role of Shari'ah and other regulations in the drive for innovation and further industry advancement. Leading Islamic scholars, executives, standard-setting bodies and support organisations will be present to contribute expert insight into capitalising on the opportunities for Fintech in Islamic finance.
“We are pleased to support this forum series focusing on innovation in Islamic Finance and in, particular, the fast-developing Fintech industry, which offers Islamic financial institutions exciting new avenues for growth. Bahrain, through the efforts of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the EDB and numerous other industry bodies and institutions, has taken decisive steps to create an ecosystem where Fintech can flourish and help to further unlock the vast potential and capital that exists within the world of Islamic finance,” said David Parker, Executive Director, Financial Services at EDB.
Bahrain has been a regional financial centre for over four decades, and has the largest concentration of financial institutions and funds registered and domiciled in the region. The financial services sector is the second largest contributor to GDP (16.5 per cent), and there are over 400 financial institutions licenced in the Kingdom, including almost 80 conventional banks and 25 Islamic banks. Bahrain’s strong information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and established platforms for innovation and entrepreneurship, make it well-placed to provide a regional hub and testing ground for fintech investments.
“Fintech solutions can help drive the next stage of growth for Islamic finance, particularly if it takes consideration of best practises in responsible finance that can enhance the universal appeal for Islamic finance. RFI is delighted to be supporting this forum series in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is home to a large concentration of Islamic financial institutions and industry bodies that are leading the innovation drive and the adoption of Fintech. We look forward to discussing the way forward for the industry and the meaningful role we believe Islamic Fintech can play in the achievement of sustainable development goals,” said Blake Goud, CEO of RFI.
The Forum series has been strategically timed to coincide with several Islamic finance events taking place in the Kingdom which also aim to highlight important current issues and trends within the industry. Key among these is the annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) taking place in Bahrain from 3-6 December 2017, which each year attracts hundreds of regional and international Islamic finance industry heavyweights.