The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), the investment promotion agency for the Kingdom of Bahrain, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kerala Start-up Mission (KSUM) - the Kerala government body for supporting technology start-ups in Kerala.
The MoU aims to provide a framework for co-operation between the two authorities to promote innovation in their respective markets 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.
A key focus of the MoU is to build 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, as well as 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
* Facilitating the development and growth of Fin-Tech and ICT start-ups and centres via support from hubs such as Bahrain Fin-tech Bay, Brinc Batelco IoT Accelerator, Flat6 Labs Bahrain, Brilliant Lab, and KSUM Hub
* Exploration of innovation projects in areas such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms (API), AML, eKYC, and other emerging areas in Fin-Tech and ICT
"Building a robust ecosystem where Fin-Tech start-ups and IT firms can access and engage with critical soft infrastructures such as universities, financial institutions, and government agencies will be a key enabler for growth and innovation in the Fin-Tech 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", said Dr Saji Gopinath, KSUM CEO.
"This is an excellent opportunity for Keralan 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 start-ups seeking to access and scale across the growing USD 1.5 trillion GCC markets", said Dharmi Magdani, Bahrain EDB Regional Director for India.
Bahrain and India have enjoyed commercial ties for thousands of years with trade currently standing at some USD 1.3 billion. Fin-Tech 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 Fin-Techs 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 USD 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.
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