Citigroup opened a technology hub in Bahrain on Monday with the aim of creating 1,000 jobs related to digitalisation and coding in the next decade.
The New York lender, the third-largest bank in the US, launched the centre in partnership with the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Tamkeen, the kingdom's labour fund.
Citi selected Bahrain as the location of its new technology hub because of the availability of a skilled workforce, transparent regulations and government support, it said in a statement
"The pace of automation and digitalisation accelerated rapidly in the past two years across the financial industry," said Citi Bahrain’s chief executive, Michel Sawaya. "Our new technology hub in Bahrain will allow us to rapidly scale to meet increasing global client demand for electronic solutions.”
With the new hub, Tamkeen will be able to create new job opportunities and upskill workers.
"We highly value the strategic partnership with EDB and all stakeholders ... where Tamkeen aims to achieve economic growth and impact by supporting the private sector towards productivity, innovation, digitisation, internationalisation, and building the human capital advantage, especially in technology and emerging skills," said Hussain Rajab, Tamkeen’s chief executive.
Citi's global foreign exchange unit will be the first to hire new recruits at the hub, said the lender's global head of electronic platforms and distributions Ala'a Saeed. The Bahrain hub will eventually expand to support Citi's markets and institutional client group.
"The programme that we have agreed with Citi is a perfect example of the strides we are taking to evolve our economy and remain at the forefront of digital transformation," said Bahrain EDB chief executive Khalid Humaidan. "The opportunity this represents for us as a kingdom is such that we can impact the world from Bahrain, with Bahraini talent supporting Citi’s ambitions to deliver results all across the globe."
Citi has been in the Middle East and North Africa region for over five decades.