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In effort to advance open banking reform, Israel and Bahrain sign fintech cooperation agreement

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Ron Klein, deputy director of International Affairs at the Israel Securities Authority, sign a fintech cooperation agreement, Sept. 4, 2023. (Photo: Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

The Central Bank of Bahrain and the Israel Securities Authority signed a fintech cooperation deal on Monday during Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s visit to Bahrain and the official opening of the Israeli embassy in the Bahraini capital Manama.

Israel and Bahrain normalized bilateral diplomatic relations as part of the historic Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords in 2020.

Yosef (Seffy) Zinger, the Israel Securities Authority’s incoming chairman, emphasized the Jewish state’s prominent position in the global financial tech market.

“Israel is a financial tech powerhouse and we see great importance in building bridges to support the global activity of Israeli companies in this industry,” Zinger stated.

“We continue to advance the open banking reform… and work in cooperation with our counterparts in the world to create an ecosystem for the promotion of digital financial services in Israel,” he added.

Despite its small size, the Jewish state is home to more than 500 fintech companies that employ around 40,000 people in Israel and abroad. In 2021, Israel's fintech sector attracted $7.2 billion in investments. However, the Israel Securities Authority reported that investment capital dropped to $2.7 billion in 2022 due to a global slowdown.

Bahrain has also expressed interest in acquiring Israeli water technologies as it is facing a severe water shortage, as most of the island is low-lying and barren desert. 

The Jewish state has emerged as a global leader in water technologies, assisting many developing countries in Asia, Africa and beyond. In addition, Israeli water technologies have been implemented in Australia and arid areas of the United States.

The Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords will facilitate the sharing of Israeli cutting-edge technologies with states in the Middle East, which is widely regarded as the world’s most water-stressed region.

Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz made an official visit to Bahrain in June to discuss regional cooperation in an effort to transform the Middle East into an important global tourism destination.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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