Bahrain 'key hub for investments'
Manama, September 23, 2013
Bahrain remains a top investment hub for GCC nationals, said a high-profile diplomat, adding that it has become the destination of choice for businessmen from Saudi Arabia, who view it as promising for private investments.
"Bahrain is seen as an investment hub," Saudi Embassy charge d'affaires Riyadh bin Saud Al Khonaini was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"Almost a week does not go by without a businessman or investor paying a visit to the embassy looking to invest in Bahrain. Saudis are heavily investing in properties and many see Bahrain as promising for investments."
Most Saudi investments are in properties, retail and food supplies, revealed Al Khonaini.
"We call for more investments between the two countries," he said. "We welcome investors and businessmen to help find ways of economic co-operation."
Al Khonaini was speaking to the GDN ahead of Saudi National Day today and praised the closeness of relations with Bahrain.
"These relations emanate from sincere fraternal feelings between the people of both countries based on love, respect and the principle of good neighbourliness - a model of a harmonious family," he said.
The diplomat stressed the embassy had been able to offer more services to citizens and aims to further strengthen historic relations between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The latest improvement has been the introduction of the Saudi Visa Service Centre at the Bahrain Financial Harbour.
"It looks to ease procedures of getting visas using new technologies, which include recording finger prints," said Al Khonaini. "The centre feeds information of those registered to the embassy electronically. It handles most visa requests and is planning to also handle Umrah and Haj visas by next year."
The diplomat called for the re-launch of the Saudi Tourist Visa, which was introduced in 2007 and later suspended for unknown reasons, stressing its contribution to promote the country.
"The tourist visa was a success as I know many tourists, including people from Japan and Korea, were visiting Saudi Arabia," he said. "It encourages foreign tourists to visit Saudi Arabia and view what it has to offer We hope it will be launched again soon."
Nearly 5,000 Saudis live and work in Bahrain. Another 1,100 students also attend Bahrain University, Gulf University and the Royal University for Women among others.
Government schools in Bahrain are also presently hosting more than 120 Saudi teachers, who are part of a government exchange programme.
"We have 4,934 Saudis working in Bahrain, mostly businessmen," said Al Khonaini. "But we think there are more who are not registered with the embassy.
"Some worked in Bahrain after settling here following marriage, while others retired here. We have recorded 70 Saudis who got married in Bahrain in the past six months, 48 of which married Bahraini women, while 10 Saudi women married Bahraini men. "However, this number is not as big as the comparative figures in Morocco, Egypt or Syria." – TradeArabia News Service