FDI 'key to developing Bahrain economy'
Berlin, June 14, 2013
Foreign investment is a central part of the solution to develop the economy and create jobs in Bahrain, said Transportation Minister and Economic Development Board acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed during the opening session of the 16th Arab German Economic Forum which concludes in Berlin today.
Bahraini, GCC and European delegations are attending the forum, reported the Gulf daily News, our sister publication.
"We value Germany as one of our most important trading partners, as an investor and as a destination for our exports," said Ahmed.
"The partnership is cemented by the respect we have for the world-leading technical expertise that German businesses possess.
"The respect that we have for the German commitment is not only limited to large corporates, but to the small and family-owned businesses," he added.
"When it comes to foreign investment in Bahrain, German firms have played an important role," he said.
"These firms cover a wide range of industries and they include DHL, which has been based in Bahrain for more than 40 years and runs its Middle East and Africa operations from the kingdom, employing around 700 Bahrainis.
"They also include BASF, which opened a chemicals production plant at the Bahrain International Investment Park in December last year and Germany's RMA, a family-run pipeline company, that was established in the kingdom in 2011," he said.
"These firms represent a wide range of different sizes, types of businesses and different sectors.
"But they all share a common aim of accessing growth in the GCC economy and find Bahrain an excellent location from which to do so," he added.
The minister highlighted the development and achievements of the Bahraini economy, especially in the process of economic diversification.
"We in Bahrain began this process many years ago and now financial services comprise around 17 per cent of our GDP, and manufacturing around 15 per cent," he said.
"We are seeing a similar process of diversification across the Gulf and this process is helping to spur rapid economic growth throughout the region and in building a sustainable economy for the long term," he added.
In 2011, the GCC comprised an economy worth over $1.4 trillion. And according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, this is expected to reach $2trn by 2020.
Ahmed said the GCC was a dynamic, expanding market that is seeing long-term growth underpinned by strong economic fundamentals, said the GDN report.
The forum will shed light on economic and trade issues, especially in the following sectors - infrastructure, logistics, information technology, manufacturing and financial services, small and medium enterprises, family businesses, and the role of businesswomen.
The size of trade between Bahrain and Germany amounted to $542,000 in 2011, with aluminium representing almost 73 per cent of Bahrain's exports to Germany, the report stated.
At the same time, car and transport vehicles were the main imports by Bahrain, which amounted to around 34 per cent of imports, including machinery, chemical products and food.
Meanwhile, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) chairman Dr Essam Fakhro lauded economic co-operation between Bahrain and Germany, citing the increasingly-growing volume of trade.
Dr Fakhro also underscored the ambitious reform project of His Majesty King Hamad, which provides a very attractive investment climate.-TradeArabia News Service