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Bahrain central bank facilitates new sandbox for fintechs

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced new regulations to create a regulatory sandbox that will allow startups and fintech firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions. This provides an opportunity for fintech businesses around the world to expand and thrive in the Gulf and strengthens Bahrain’s position as a fintech and financial services hub in the GCC. The framework provides a virtual space for companies to test their technology-based innovative solutions, and is open to existing CBB licensees and other local and foreign firms. The testing duration is nine months, with a maximum extension of three months. In order to be eligible, solutions need to demonstrate innovation, customer benefit, technical testing, and an intention to be deployed in Bahrain after the sandbox period ends. The CBB recently issued the Regulatory Sandbox Framework directive, which includes the eligibility criteria, filing requirements and timeline for the process. This is in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to further develop the ecosystem in place to encourage growth in the fintech industry. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, governor of the CBB, said these new initiatives are a continuation of the CBB’s efforts to provide the right mix of policies and products to develop and enhance the quality and competitiveness of services in the financial sector.

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