The investment promotion agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain surpassed targeted investment by attracting a whopping close to 1 billion USD in foreign direct investment in 2020, despite the adverse economic impact of covid 19 pandemics.
It was announced in a press briefing after a board meeting of the Economic Development Board (EDB) chaired remotely by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince Prime Minister and EDB chairman.
The EDB attracted USD 885 million as a foreign investment last year that would create more than 4,300 employments during the next three years, the board reported.
Accumulated investments in the kingdom over the past 10 years continued to grow touching around 1 billion USD annually.
The quantum of accumulated foreign direct investments as a percentage of the kingdom’s GDP in 2019 was around 78 per cent, almost double the world average of 42 per cent as per reports published by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). FDI in Bahrain stood at 28.9 billion USD in 2019, as per UNCTAD data.
During the meeting, Royal Highness Prince Salman reiterated the importance of economic diversification in non-oil businesses as a measure of sustaining and growing the national economy that can 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, His Highness emphasized.
His Highness Prince Salman also pointed out that the economic stimulus package announced has exceeded all past packages launched following directives from His Majesty King Hamad. The economic stimulus has been aimed to mitigate the adverse economic impact of Covid-19 and played a pivotal role in promoting recovery and sustaining positive growth across healthcare and several other essential economic sectors.
He also remarked that Bahrain has taken timely, careful and balanced actions to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the community and the country’s economy.
Precautionary and preventive measures based on community awareness and co-operation, while continuing to allow movement for daily necessities and commercial and economic activities and maintaining open borders for travellers, had a clear impact on reducing Covid-19 repercussions at 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 last year’s success of EDB in attracting foreign companies for business setup in Bahrain, 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.
H.E. Khalid Humaidan said, “Despite the challenges faced across the globe due to COVID-19, we were able to continue the momentum from 2019, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from around the world.
“Investors are increasingly turning to the region’s tried-and-tested business environment, where our commitment to building a pro-investor ecosystem is backed up by robust regulation. This, and our longstanding economic diversification efforts, show Bahrain is focused on enabling growth in a wide range of sectors,” he also added.
He also cited some examples of some of the most prominent local, regional, and international investments in the kingdom, including from GCC, European, and Asian companies to support his statements.
Several prominent business entities after company formation in Bahrain have launched operations in the Kingdom with funds raised from local, regional and international companies. They have invested in several major sectors including financial services, manufacturing notably in Mondelez’s 90 million USD biscuit factory, logistics and retail services, education including the American University in Bahrain, healthcare services, real estate, tourism, transport and also in Information and Communications Technology showcasing Amazon Web Services (AWS) hyperscale data centre as the most noted and first in this region.