Foreign financial firms surge in Bahrain
Manama, September 30, 2010
The number of foreign investment companies in Bahrain grew by 50 per cent in the first quarter, compared with same period last year.
'Efforts are being stepped up to attract eight new financial service companies this year,' Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry first deputy chairman Ibrahim Zainal said.
He cited the updated figures as he addressed the Invest in Bahrain 2010 Forum.
The Economic Development Board is also embarking on an aggressive campaign to attract 40 other industrial and service firms.
'The Investment in Bahrain 2010 is timely as it sheds light on Bahrain's potential, both present and future,' Zainal said.
He outlined main components of business friendly Bahrain, citing landmark political and economic reforms, aggressive promotional efforts, incentives and investment guarantees. He called for a collective effort to make Bahrain even more competitive in attracting and promoting investments.
'Good steps and viable initiatives have already been taken to put Bahrain on the world investment map,' he said.
'Bahrain succeeded in withstanding the devastating global financial downturn thanks to the co-ordination and joint efforts of the public and private sectors,' Zainal said.
The forum is being held in light of the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, launched by His Majesty King Hamad, to serve as a roadmap in dealing with potential challenges and cope with increasingly fierce competition.
He urged businessmen and investors attending the forum to bolster their presence in the region with Bahrain as their gateway.
He cited Bahrain's landmark economic and financial strides which won global recognition. 'Bahrain has been ranked first in the Middle East and 16th in the world in the index of economic freedom,' he said. Other landmark achievements included the fifth rank on the international index of work environment and the 38th on the index of competitiveness.
He said the overall flow of foreign investments in the financial sector topped $257 billion in 2009. 'No capital fled Bahrain during the world meltdown, which reflects its robust investment environment,' he added.
According to a study by The Economist in co-operation with Columbia Programme for Global Investments, Bahrain is poised to top GCC countries and register the highest growth rate of foreign investments.
'The study shows the volume of foreign investments to grow by $25.2 billion in the GCC, with Bahrain securing a substantial part,' he said.-TradeArabia News Service