Bahrain’s emergence as a hub for sustainable practices and innovation in the GCC banking landscape

Oxford Business Group presents its latest Global Platform video, featuring an exclusive interview with Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Helaissi, Group CEO and Member of the Board of Gulf International Bank (GIB). Titled, “Bahrain: A Centre for Sustainable Finance and Innovation in the GCC,” the video explores the pivotal role Bahrain’s banking sector plays in trade finance and asset management in the GCC region.

In this interview, Al Helaissi sheds light on Bahrain’s well-established banking sector, contributing 17% to the country’s GDP. The sector serves as a strategic centre for trade finance and asset management, particularly for businesses operating in the GCC region. The video highlights Bahrain’s commitment to embracing financial technology, evidenced by the rapid adoption of digital banking services.

Sustainable finance takes centre stage in Bahrain, with the country ranking 40th globally for issuing over $4.5 billion in sustainable debt. Banks actively support sustainability goals, reducing emissions, and prioritising measurement and targets. Notably, Bahrain now mandates an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure module, effective from January 1, 2024, in response to the evolving GCC regulatory landscape.

The Global Platform video delves into the significance of Bahrain’s financial sector, its regulatory environment, and the innovative technologies shaping its future. Al Helaissi emphasises GIB’s commitment to sustainability, reporting in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations for 2023.

While GCC regulation is evolving and encouraging banks in incorporating sustainability considerations in the new business world, Al Helaissi welcomed recent measures that are currently reshaping the regional banking landscape. “For instance, the Central Bank of Bahrain announced the new mandatory module on ESG disclosure, effective from January 1, 2024. And in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has recently introduced a Saudi banks’ ESG advisory committee,” he stated.

Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of Video Content, highlights the importance of this Global Platform video in providing a comprehensive understanding of Bahrain’s role in sustainable finance and innovation.

“Oxford Business Group remains steadfast in its mission to inform an international business audience on the most recent dynamics of global markets. The Global Platform video, featuring the perspectives of Al Helaissi from GIB, delves into the nuanced fabric of Bahrain’s and the GCC financial landscape, revealing not only its present intricacies but also laying bare its visionary initiatives for the future,” he added.

This Global Platform video provides a deep dive into Bahrain’s banking sector, its commitment to sustainability, and the innovative strategies driving the nation’s financial future. For more details and to view the full video, please visit

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