Bahrain's Economic Development Board draws $885mln investment

Accumulated investments in the kingdom over the past 10 years continued to grow

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Bahrain. Modern buildings in Manama skyline.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Bahrain. Modern buildings in Manama skyline.

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MANAMA: Bahrain’s main investment promotion agency exceeded targets by bringing in nearly $1 billion in foreign direct investment last year, despite the impact of the pandemic, it has emerged.

This was announced after a board meeting of the Economic Development Board (EDB) yesterday chaired remotely by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince Prime Minister and EDB chairman.

The EDB attracted BD333 million ($885m) as foreign investment last year, which is expected to create more than 4,300 jobs over the next three years, the board heard.

Accumulated investments in the kingdom over the past 10 years continued to grow, with their stock rising by around $1bn annually.

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the size of accumulated foreign direct investments compared to the kingdom’s GDP in 2019 was around 78 per cent, double the world average of 42pc.

The total stock of FDI in Bahrain stood at $28.9 billion in 2019, as per UNCTAD data.

During the meeting, HRH Prince Salman stressed the importance of economic diversification efforts as a means to further enhance the sustainability of the national economy and help capitalise on the country’s economic resilience.

This economic resilience, as well as other national competencies, allowed the kingdom to navigate its way through a variety of global challenges, he noted.

HRH Prince Salman added that the unprecedented economic stimulus package, launched following directives from His Majesty King Hamad to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, played a crucial role in enhancing recovery and sustaining positive growth for various vital economic sectors.

He also indicated that Bahrain has taken careful, balanced steps to manage the impact of the pandemic on the community and the economy.

Precautionary and preventive measures founded on community awareness and co-operation, while continuing to allow movement for necessities and commercial and economic activities and maintaining open borders for travellers, had a clear impact on reducing Covid-19 repercussions on all levels.

HRH Prince Salman emphasised that the government will continue to implement wide-ranging economic strategies and attract foreign investment in developing the national economy.

This will in turn enable the private sector to play a greater role in economic growth, create further job opportunities for citizens and enhance the kingdom’s economic and investment position both regionally and globally.

Praising the EDB’s success in attracting investments last year, he noted that Bahrainis continue to remain at the heart of all development plans.

During the meeting, EDB’s chief executive Khalid Humaidan informed board members about the latest economic indicators and developments regarding the performance of the national economy and investment position.

He also showcased some of the most prominent local, regional, and international investments in the kingdom, including from GCC, European, and Asian companies.

These companies have invested in a number of major sectors including financial services, manufacturing which includes Mondelez’s $90 million biscuit factory, logistics and retail services, education which includes the American University in Bahrain, healthcare services, real estate, tourism, and ICT (information and communications technology) chief among which is the region’s first Amazon Web Services (AWS) hyperscale data centre.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

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