Bahrain has joined Egypt, Jordan and the UAE in a regional bloc that represents the world’s largest combined raw aluminium exporter value of $6.76 billion.
Established in May this year, the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development aims to establish large joint industrial projects and create job opportunities in the partner countries.
The kingdom, represented by Industry and Commerce Minister Zayed Alzayani, was included as a new member of the partnership during the second higher committee meeting in Cairo yesterday.
Bahrain, a major producer of aluminium, will increase the partnership’s total industrial manufacturing value add from $106.26bn to $112.5bn, a statement issued after the meeting said.
The country boasts a strong industrial sector with more than 9,500 companies and 55,000 employees and $4.3bn in industrial foreign direct investment.
It was also announced that the committee has shortlisted 12 projects worth $3.4bn to move into feasibility studies.
A total of 87 industrial project proposals focused on fertilisers, agriculture and food were assessed by the committee.
In the next phase, the partnership will focus on the metals, chemicals, plastics, textiles and clothing sectors.
In her remarks, Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Nevin Gamea stressed the significance of the industrial partnership in confronting the economic consequences of the global crises and highlighted the importance of the private sector engagement in sustainable development for the Arab world.
“This partnership is key to ensuring value and supply chains, reaching industrial self-sufficiency, and creating more jobs,” said Dr Gamea, adding: “We welcome Bahrain to join this partnership, which will help maximise the benefit of the industrial capabilities of the four countries.”
She added: “To make use of this initiative, partners shall exchange science and technology expertise, set up industrial partnerships, and take advantage of the partners’ markets to promote multilateral trade.”
Meanwhile, Jordan’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yousef Al Shamali noted that Bahrain joining the partnership will give a boost to the initiative, accelerating the pace of achieving the desired economic integration.
Also attending was UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr Sultan Al Jaber who commented: “Today, we welcome Bahrain as a vital and dynamic addition to the partnership. Bahrain’s industrial sector plays a crucial role in sustainable economic development.”
In his speech, Mr Alzayani conveyed the greetings of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and his appreciation for the kingdom’s admission to the partnership.
He explained that the partnership reflects a strong will to promote industrial integration between Arab countries and the world, while seeking to achieve sustainable industrial development.
In 2019, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain accounted for 30 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa’s industrial contribution to GDP, totaling $65bn worth of industrial exports.
The countries’ combined population is 122 million, representing 27pc of Mena and 49pc of the region’s young population under 24.
The addition of Bahrain, which has a GDP of $39bn, is expected to greatly enhance the partnership and contribute significantly to its results.
The kingdom exports metal products worth $4bn annually and allows full foreign ownership in the industrial sector.
The partnership is expected to increase the GDP of member countries by $809bn by unlocking billions worth of opportunities across sectors, including $1.7bn in the food and agricultural sector, $4bn in the minerals sector, $1.7bn in chemicals and plastics, and $0.5bn in medical products.
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