Bahrain FinTech Bay has launched the Global Islamic and Sustainable Fintech Center (GISFC) gathering under the same roof local, regional and international fintech players attached to sustainable, social and responsible values to further unlock the potential of fintech as a growth driver for the global Islamic finance industry.
Chaired by Dr Ali Adnan Ibrahim, the head of sustainability and social responsibility at the Al Baraka Banking Group, the GISFC already counts 18 members including AAOIFI, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Southeast Asia’s Islamic Fintech Alliance, Ethis Ventures, Al Salam Bank, Finocracy, GFH and Kuwait Finance House, to name a few. Other players are expected to be onboarded in the future.
“Islamic finance and sustainability share a huge common ground. While Islamic finance is fast approaching the US$3 trillion 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,” shared Dr Ali, the chairman of the GISFC.
Creating an innovation-friendly environment through the introduction of a regulatory sandbox for fintech start-ups; implementing dedicated rules for crowdfunding platforms; and launching Bahrain FinTech Bay, an incubator and ecosystem builder, Bahrain has been both a pioneer and a leader in the development of Islamic fintech over the past few years.
Other countries like the UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Iran and Morocco have also passed regulatory measures and launched initiatives to ease and encourage the development of fintech projects recently. For instance, Iran, Morocco and Indonesia have accommodated Islamic crowdfunding, while Malaysia teamed up with South Korean IncuBlock to develop Shariah compliant blockchain technology.
“Islamic finance has the potential to onboard over a billion new customers through the use of technology, helping attain sustainable and long-term growth. Additionally, the world is increasingly shifting toward innovation that promotes sustainability. Through the launch of [the] 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,” said Khalid Saad, CEO of Bahrain FinTech Bay.