Thanks to Bahrain’s economic diversification strategy, the economy multiplied four times in 20 years to reach $43 billion. In an interview with our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) Nada Al Saeed said that foreign investments are targeted based on clear plans including the nature of the investment, priority of the sector and the expected contribution of the investment to the economy and gross domestic product (GDP).

Bahrain’s efforts were aptly rewarded as it no longer depends solely on oil. The contribution of the oil sector to the economy had dropped from 40 per cent two decades ago to just 16.1pc at present, though it had increased in terms of value. The financial services sector is now the biggest contributor to the economy with 17.8pc. She said that Bahrain’s success in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) of $6.8bn was an unprecedented achievement. These investments help boost the economy, achieve sustainable economic growth and support GDP. They also bring expertise, technical know-how, and advanced technologies into the country, create job opportunities for local talents and boost international trade. She attributed this success to many factors including a sound regulatory environment and market openness, strong local economy, availability of local skills and up-to-date technologies, robust infrastructure, and operating costs among the most competitive in the region. The competition between the Gulf states in the field of attracting foreign investment is a natural and healthy phenomenon and is bound to help the integration of the Gulf economies.

The Gulf region has managed to capitalise upon international economic challenges and geopolitical changes, and succeeded in attracting substantial international investments, she added.

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