Bahrain Achieves Top Rankings in Flow of Trade, Capital and People on DHL’s Global Connectedness Index 2024

The island nation of Bahrain has achieved impressive results on the Global Connectedness Index 2024, published by international logistics giant DHL, climbing seven ranks to secure the 25th position globally and the most improving country since 2021. This remarkable progress reflects the Kingdom’s growing integration with the global economy. The report measures 181 countries on how well they integrate and connect with the rest of the world based on international flows across the four main domains of Trade, Capital, Information, and People.

In an impressive display of ability to attract investment, Bahrain now stands as the 1st globally in Inward Merger & Acquisitions percentage of GDP, representing 19% of its GDP. This achievement underscores Bahrain’s attractiveness as a destination for investment and indicates the confidence that the international business community has in its business-friendly environment.

Bahrain’s economic diversity is further showcased in its dominance in the Trade of Services as a percentage of GDP, leading the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in this category. The Kingdom has also emerged as a premier destination for tourists within the region, ranking first in the GCC for Inbound Tourism when measured by departure and arrival per capita. These accomplishments reflect Bahrain’s successful efforts to diversify its economy and enhance its priority sectors, including tourism, which continues to grow and contribute to the Kingdom’s sustainable economic growth.

Commenting on this achievement, Nada Alsaeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), said: “Bahrain’s status as the most improved nation in the Global Connectedness Index stands a witness to its robust economic strategy and proactive engagement in the international economy. Since last year’s report, the seven-position climb is a testament to Bahrain’s dedication to building a resilient and open market economy that actively participates in the global exchange of goods, services, and capital.”

Moreover, the Kingdom’s 2nd place ranking in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for Global Trade Connectedness highlights its significant role in the international trade ecosystem. The Kingdom has effectively leveraged its strategic location and logistics capabilities to integrate with global markets, facilitating free trade flows with 25 countries, which provides duty-free access to 32% of the World’s GDP.

The DHL’s Global Connectedness Index 2024 stated: “The key factors in Bahrain’s growing connectedness were increases in both merchandise exports & inwards M&A activity. Bahrain has long sought to boost international business activity as part of its economic development strategy.” Bahrain has consistently invested in its infrastructure, regulatory reforms, and digital transformation, creating an ecosystem that supports innovation, diversification, and global collaboration. These efforts have not only enhanced the Kingdom’s competitiveness on the world stage but have also fostered a resilient economy. Over a two-decade period, Bahrain’s nominal GDP increased from around USD 11 billion in 2003 to over USD 43 billion in 2023, marking an average annual growth of 7%, surpassing the global average of 5%.

Bahrain EDB Hosts Delegation from Monaco Spearheading Bilateral Investment Opportunities  

Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) is set to host a high-level delegation from the Principality of Monaco, led by His Excellency Frédéric Genta, Secretary of Attractiveness, Development and Digital at the Government of Monaco on a two-day visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain on April 24 and April 25, 2024. This strategic visit aims to foster collaboration, exchange best practices, and explore potential cross-investment opportunities between the two nations.

During the visit the Monaco delegation, which is comprised of key government officials and influential C-suite executives from the business community, will engage in a series of high-level meetings with key counterparts and stakeholders from both the private and public sector.

Designed to provide the visiting delegation with deeper insights into Bahrain’s economic landscape and investment potential, the curated meetings aim to facilitate meaningful discussions on potential areas of collaboration, with a focus on shared synergies namely financial services, digital transformation, and tourism.

Both the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Principality of Monaco are renowned for their commitment to fostering digital innovation and creating business-friendly environments that encourage foreign investment. By promoting increased knowledge sharing of economic strengths and respective experiences, the two nations strive to build a solid foundation to pave the way for long-term cooperation and increased cross-investment.

Bahrain Ranks 1st in MENA in Trade, Investment and Financial Freedom for the Third Consecutive Year

  • Bahrain cements itself as a model dynamic business hub on the 2024 Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation, with an improved global performance from last year.
  • The 2024 Index reported Bahrain’s business freedom and monetary freedom score to be higher than the world average, with a positive and transparent investment framework.

Bahrain has achieved the ranking of 1st in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in trade, investment, and financial freedom for the third consecutive year according to the 2024 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Heritage Foundation, Washington’s leading think tank. With an economic freedom score higher than the world and regional averages, Bahrain’s overall performance additionally improved on a global comparative, climbing 14 positions since last year.

Nada Al Saeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) said, “Economic freedom, backed by sound regulatory environments and market openness are strongly linked to achieving progress and sustainable economic growth. Securing top rankings and achieving a robust performance across pivotal indices of the Heritage Foundation cements Bahrain’s established position as a financially liberal and open regional hub of trade and maintaining these favourable standings remains our priority at Bahrain EDB as we work towards ensuring the island nation remains attractive to investment.”

By assigning weighted scores and analysing macroeconomic data across 184 economies, the 2024 Index assesses both quantitative and qualitative factors across four key pillars to determine economic freedom, namely rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and open markets. Bahrain performed quite well across several pillars, where the overall investment framework was found to be streamlined, positive, and transparent, where both foreign and domestic investors were determined to have facilitated access to a wide range of financial services. Bolstered by a well-institutionalized and efficient regulatory environment, Bahrain’s business freedom and monetary freedom score were additionally determined to be higher than the world average.

The Heritage Foundation 2024 report stated, “Despite the challenging global economic environment, the country (Bahrain) continues to be a dynamic business hub. Its openness to global commerce is sustained by a competitive regulatory environment. Enhancing the foundations of economic freedom by further improving the rule of law and fiscal policy remains critical to ensuring the country’s ongoing evolution.” With its long history as a trading hub, Bahrain has demonstrated a vested commitment to diversifying its economy and fostering a business-friendly investment environment, prioritising the development of a robust, digitally ready economy, and consistently pioneering regulatory policies and legislative frameworks to ensure its international competitiveness. Over a span of two decades, Bahrain’s economy secured an impressive average annual growth of 8%, surpassing the global average of 5%, wherein nominal GDP increased from around USD 10 billion in 2002 to over USD 44 billion in 2022.

Edamah Signs Lease Agreement with ‘Interlink’ for Over USD 200 million Facility in Bahrain

The lease signing was fast-tracked due to Interlink’s project being awarded the Golden License

Edamah, the real estate arm of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company “Mumtalakat”, has recently signed a 25-year lease agreement with Bahrain Titanium, a subsidiary of Interlink Metals & Chemicals AG (Interlink), for a 50,000 sqm industrial plot at Askar, for a Titanium multiphase facility valued at upwards of USD 200 million. Securing the establishment of this landmark first-of-its-kind project and milestone agreement was supported by Bahrain Economic Development Board. On the heels of being awarded a Golden License, which fast-tracked the lease signing and land allocation, the establishment of the Bahrain Titanium facility cements the island nation’s position as an established exporting hub for the world, contributing to its economic diversification and enhancing its global competitiveness.

Interlink chose Bahrain as the destination for its groundbreaking project due to Bahrain’s strategic location, along with its well-established exporting capabilities. During the first phase of the project, Bahrain Titanium will operate an electron-beam furnace (EB), for the production of commercially pure titanium slabs and ingots, as well as a vacuum-arc (VAR) furnace, for the production of titanium alloys. The first phase of the project will have a 4,000 tonnes capacity per annum with further projected increases in capacity in the future. The first stage will be followed by a comprehensive downstream expansion into forged bars and round and tubed titanium products.

H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) said, “The agility of Team Bahrain ensured this strategic project hit the ground running. Benefiting from facilitated duty-free access to 24 markets globally, the Switzerland-based manufacturer is a welcome addition to Bahrain’s well-diversified economy, adding value with their niche experience and expertise. As an export-oriented project, this deepens Bahrain’s ties with key markets, serving as a gateway for leading players in the logistics and manufacturing industry to tap into the Middle East and North Africa market and beyond.”

The facility will be purpose-built to serve fast-growing industries such as medical, aerospace, automotive, and energy, meeting the increasing global demand for titanium products, a niche commodity gaining traction worldwide surging Bahrain’s exports to international markets.

H.E. Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said, “Marking the first specialised Titanium facility to be established in the region, Interlink has earned a solid reputation as one of the largest traders and suppliers of titanium in the world. Bringing these international institutions to Bahrain plays a pivotal role in enhancing the diversity, quality, and overall investment value of the national industrial sector, which contributes to increasing Bahrain’s economic competitiveness and elevating its standing as a leading export hub on the global map.”

H.E. Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, CEO of Mumtalakat and Chairman of Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company (Edamah), added, “We are pleased to sign this agreement with Bahrain Titanium, which marks a crucial step in facilitating their local operations enabling them to take advantage of Bahrain’s strategic location and world-class logistics infrastructure. As the first facility of its kind, this landmark signing underscores our commitment to expanding and diversifying Bahrain’s robust property portfolio with premium projects that foster innovation across priority sectors of the economy, in line with the national vision.” Igor Raykhelson, Chairman of Interlink Metals & Chemicals, said, “As part of Interlink’s roadmap for global expansion, Bahrain was a clear destination of choice given its Free Trade Agreement ratified with the US, strategic location, competitive operating costs, and availability of experienced and highly skilled local talent. The blueprint for the new Bahrain-based plant outlines the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced manufacturing processes to meet the highest industry standards in energy efficiency and waste management, with a minimal carbon footprint.”

Bahrain Tops Regional and Global Rankings in 2023

Bolstered by its Business-friendly environment, progressive legislation, and highly skilled talent pool

Bahrain has secured high rankings across a considerable number of global indices and reports that analyse the macro environment, quality of the business ecosystem and map Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) statistics, solidifying its status as a trusted global investment hub. With its liberal economic policies and progressive legislative frameworks, Bahrain’s pro-innovation investment climate and highly skilled talent pool continue to attract leading businesses from across the region and beyond across diversified sectors. Backed by best-value operating and living costs, Bahrain’s business-friendly ecosystem encourages business growth and prosperity, earning its capital city of Manama the 1st spot globally in Financial Attractiveness (Global 150 Cities Index 2023, –AIRINC).

2023 marked a landmark year for the island nation, Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), supported by Team Bahrain, secured a record level of investments upwards of USD 1.7 billion, successfully attracting leading local and international companies to setup or expand their operations. This earned Bahrain’s standing within the top 20 best FDI performers globally on the Greenfield FDI Performance Index 2023, FDI Intelligence.

At the heart of Bahrain’s economic growth lies a thriving financial sector, which has overtaken oil as the largest contributor to real GDP, standing at 18.1% in Q3 of 2023. Backed by pioneering legislation, the financial services sector continues to achieve key milestones and high rankings, notably securing the 1st position globally in Islamic Finance Regulations (ICD-LSEG Islamic Finance Development Report 2023).

Nada Al Saeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain EDB, said, “Securing top scores across global indices is a testament to Bahrain’s financial and investment freedom, business-friendly ecosystem, and highly skilled talent, which continue to support local and international business growth and expansion. Alongside these rankings and recognition, the record-breaking level of investments attracted in 2023 underscores our island nation’s position as a leading destination for investment and talent in the region and beyond.”

Bahrain’s international competitiveness and success in maintaining its ease of doing business, advanced regulatory frameworks, and favourable investment environment were evidenced in several global rankings. This includes securing the position of 10th globally in Policies of Doing Business (Global Innovation Index 2023, WIPO), 1st in the Arab world in Economic Freedom (Economic Freedom of the World 2023, Fraser Institute), and 1st in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Financial, Investment, and Trade Freedom (Index of Economic Freedom 2023 The Heritage Foundation). With its strategic location and solid reputation as an efficient export hub, Bahrain’s unparalleled access to the Gulf market and beyond earned it the ranking of 2nd in the Arab world (10th globally) on the Timeliness subindex (Logistics Performance Index 2023, The World Bank), a testament to its advanced logistics infrastructure.

Dr. Faisal Hammad, Assistant Undersecretary for Competitiveness & Economic Indicators at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy, said, “Bahrain’s commitment to streamlining regulations and continually enhancing  business policies and processes is evidenced in its thriving investment environment, which works towards ensuring every aspect of the business cycle is seamless for local and global companies alike, starting from the ease in setting up, to creating a thriving ecosystem to support sustainable growth or expansion.” Bahrain’s diverse pool of highly skilled talent also received global recognition throughout 2023, performing exceptionally well across several indices, which placed Bahrain 4th globally in skilled labor, 1st in the Arab world in Percentage of Females in the Labour Force, 10th  globally for Talent Readiness and 1st  in MENA in Finance Skills, Employee Training and Language Skills (World Talent Ranking 2023, IMD). Additionally, Bahrain secured the 1st position in the GCC on the Sustainability of Talent (Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023, INSEAD).

Bahrain’s Golden License Attracts USD 2.4 Billion in Investment Contributing to Economic Diversification & Growth

  • Following the first five announced in 2023, the latest four Golden Licenses awarded span across diversified sectors namely, financial services, manufacturing, ICT, and tourism.
  • The local and international ventures are expected to generate over 3,000 employment opportunities.

The island nation of Bahrain reported a total of USD 2.4 billion in investment stemming from 9 major projects, which are set to generate 3,000 employment opportunities following the introduction of its Golden License in April 2023. The initiative, which delivers white-glove treatment and first-priority allocation on key project milestones such as land allocation, aims to maintain Bahrain’s demonstrated ability to attract impactful businesses across industries to contribute to its positive trajectory of sustained economic growth.

Bahrain has continued to prioritise digital transformation, the development of its economic sectors, and has secured influential success stories owing to a highly-skilled, bi-lingual, future-ready workforce that is consistently supported with government-backed training. Bahrain’s FDI stock relative to GDP is well above the global average rate at just above 81%, which stands as a testament to the robust trust international investors place in Bahrain’s competitive value proposition, reinforcing its strategic economic significance within the region.

The newly awarded large-scale projects span across diverse sectors, including Bahrain Titanium, the first facility of its kind in the region set to be established by Switzerland-based Interlink Metals & Chemicals, the construction of the first greenfield head office of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) outside of Kuwait, the installation of a data centre facility and regional submarine cable by Bahrain-born technology company Beyon, and finally, the vibrant urban waterfront development Bahrain Marina.

H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), said, “Bahrain has proven itself as a trusted destination for local and global companies to set up or expand their operations owing to its unique value proposition. The Golden License is the latest of several initiatives introduced that reflect a vested commitment to living up to our pledge of being business-friendly, ensuring a seamless journey across every stage of progress, and ultimately acting as partners in building a solid foundation for long-term success.”

“In alignment with Bahrain’s national vision, the licenses awarded span across priority sectors, ushering into each industry a new wave of employment opportunities, innovation, and niche expertise. We are excited to witness the impact of these collective investments in contributing towards Bahrain’s ongoing journey to economic diversification and prosperity,” H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB, added.

H.E. Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said, “Ultimately, Bahrain has always been known for its ease of doing business, progressive legislation, and the agility of Team Bahrain. The Golden Licenses awarded across 2023 and 2024 are a healthy mix of home-grown and international projects, creating new prospects for other companies from around the world to set up in Bahrain, thereby further solidifying trade ties with key markets around the world.”

From 2002 to 2022, Bahrain’s nominal GDP grew from USD 9.6 billion to USD 44.4 billion, the equivalent of an average annual rate of 8%, surpassing the global rate of 5.5% (2002). Bahrain also diversified its economic sectors, the non-oil sector accounted for 83.6% of real GDP in Q3 of 2023, where the financial services sector overtook oil as the largest contributor to real GDP, standing at 18.1% in Q3 of 2023.

Bahrain EDB and Georgetown University Discuss Impact of Digital Laws and Emerging Technologies on Trade

Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) and Georgetown Law School co-hosted the seminar “Innovating Trade: The Impact of Digital Laws and Emerging Technologies” at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain.

Through a series of case studies presented and roundtable discussions, the seminar examined the profound effects of digital legislation and technological innovations on international trade. Discussions focused on how these factors influence trade flows and enable businesses to increase trade volumes both domestically and across borders.

The seminar hosted international experts from the U.S. and beyond, as well as high-profile attendees, including H.H. Shaikha Nayla bint Hamad bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, Chairperson and Founder of Royal Life Saving Bahrain, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB, H.E. Dr. Ramzan bin Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Minister of Information, H.E. Steven Bondy, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Georgetown Law Alumni, and senior representatives from leading law firms and government entities of Bahrain.

The welcome address was delivered by H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB, and by Dean William M. Treanor, Executive Vice President of Georgetown University and Dean of the Law Center.

Key topics discussed at the seminar included the implications of digital laws and regulations, the cross-border transfer of data, the role of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things and cloud computing in shaping international trade, discussing recent developments in global practices, and the necessity to adapt digital legislative frameworks to accommodate these technological changes.

Notable participants included Dr. Jameel Alalawi – a legal advisor, Abdallah Maher – a Partner at a US Law Firm, Zain Satardien – Advisor at Hourani & Partners, Firas Gadamsi – Partner at GLA&CO in Dubai, Catherine Kuhlmann – Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University, Mihaela Lodlova – Senior Regulatory and Competition Lawyer, Mohammed Owais Taha – Co-founder of 10 BE5 Ltd, Nada Al Saeed – Chief of Strategy at Bahrain EDB, and Zeina Albuainain- Associate at Al Tamimi & Company.

Bahrain has demonstrated a commitment to bolstering its ICT sector through the recent enactment of four pivotal laws aimed at enhancing the Kingdom’s value proposition for international investors. These include the Personal Data Protection Law, which governs the commercial use of personal data, and the Electronic Communications and Transactions Law, which regulates electronic communications, records and contracts. The Data Jurisdiction Law is designed to encourage international entities to use Bahrain-based cloud data centres. Lastly, Bahrain stands as the first nation to implement the Model Law on Transferable Electronic Records as developed by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which includes the recognition and regulation of electronic forms of checks, bills of exchange, promissory notes, bills of lading, letters of credit, and warehouse receipts.

Bahrain Earns Above Average Global Scores Cementing its Innovative Talent on WEF’s Future of Growth Report 2024

Bahrain has achieved impressive results on the first edition of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Growth Report 2024, performing exceptionally well across several indices, placing higher than the global average scores for talent availability (above 66) and for digital and technology talent (above 67) under the talent ecosystem category.

The report aims to provide an overview of growth trends and re-evaluate traditional global economic growth metrics, introducing a new multidimensional framework to assess the quality of economic growth across 107 countries around the world, grounded across four pillars to qualify traditional measures of growth: innovativeness, inclusiveness, sustainability, and resilience.

The Future of Growth Report 2024, which highlights seven distinct growth models to offer potential policy inspiration and enable the development of more holistic areas of improvement to capture common synergies through data analysis, ranked Bahrain 2nd in the Gulf in the GDP growth rate per capita. Moreover, on the resilience pillar, Bahrain exhibited a robust performance on human capital indicators owing to a young population (90.1), the ability to fill vacancies with a global workforce (75.6) and investment in reskilling talent (70.2) – all well above global average scores. Bahrain also scored above average in infrastructure quality, financial system resilience, technology supply concentration, and government adaptation on an institutional level.

The strategically located island nation also earned above global average scores under the financial ecosystem for digital payments and long-term, venture, and SME finance availability. As for the technology ecosystem category, Bahrain placed just above the global average in business culture and competition, outshining its global counterparts in exports of advanced services, landing the maximum possible score of 100. For the ‘inclusiveness’ pillar, Bahrain ranked above average in the inclusion in workforce category, and well above average in terms of access to financial services.

Nada AlSaeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain Economic Development Board, stated, “Bahrain’s exceptional performance, particularly across pivotal categories of innovativeness and resilience, cements the island nation’s reputation as a destination for talent and progressive government frameworks, reflected in the above average scores across the metrics of regulatory quality, human capital, and institutional policy vision.”

“With its business-friendly environment that embraces the continual adoption of forward-thinking policies and agile regulation, and ongoing investment in its human capital, Bahrain continues to reach new heights on an international playing field, positioning the island nation as a frontrunner to global investors seeking to establish a new footprint in the region,” the Chief of Strategy added. The optimistic rankings on the Future of Growth Report 2024 come on the heels of Bahrain Delegation’s successful participation at the 2024 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, which convened mid-January under the theme of Rebuilding Trust, bringing together global leaders and experts to exchange innovative ideas and develop strategies for economic progress.

H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif Joins Bahrain EDB as Chief Executive

The Minister of Sustainable Development of Bahrain, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif has joined Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) as Chief Executive. The strategic appointment echoes the commitment of Bahrain in aligning its economic growth and diversification journey with its long-term vision for sustainable development.

As Minister of Sustainable Development and in her newly appointed role as Chief Executive, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif will provide executive guidance to Bahrain EDB to ensure it continues to achieve its mandate of supporting strategic initiatives that enhance the existing investment climate, attracting solid investments and encouraging leading global companies to set up in Bahrain. By attracting local and international investments across priority sectors, which include financial services, manufacturing, ICT, logistics and tourism, Bahrain EDB is committed to further solidifying Bahrain’s competitive position on the global stage.

Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, said, “It is an exciting time to come on board as Chief Executive. I am a firm believer that there are perfect synergies between the Ministry and Bahrain EDB – sustainable development cannot happen without economic development, the two mandates go hand in hand.”

She added, “With the support of Team Bahrain, we look forward to collectively working towards continuing to enhance Bahrain’s investment climate maintaining its position as an attractive investment destination, all while forging stronger ties with our partners across the public and private sectors.” 

Prior to her current role as Minister of Sustainable Development, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif served as the Assistant Undersecretary for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy. Minister Alkhulaif holds a master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Bahrain Attracts a Record USD 1.7 Billion in Investments for 2023 Boosting Job Creation and Sustainable Economic Growth

A thriving business friendly and favourable tax environment, progressive legislation, and a highly skilled diverse talent pool cement Bahrain’s attractiveness as a leading destination for investment.

Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), supported by Team Bahrain, has achieved a remarkable milestone securing a record level of investments upwards of USD 1.7 billion in 2023, marking a massive influx equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 55% compared to the USD 1.1 billion in investments generated by Bahrain EDB in 2022. The investments for 2023, which stem from 85 local and international projects, are projected to generate over 5,700 employment opportunities over a three-year period across priority sectors in the interest of promoting economic diversification and sustainable growth.

The highest level of investments was attracted into the financial services sector, demonstrating the sector’s strength, resilience, and ability to attract leading global players. 2023 was additionally a record year for the financial services sector, which overtook oil and gas as the largest contributor to Bahrain’s economy representing 17.5% of real GDP. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector also secured a healthy pipeline of investments, which is set to spur further innovation within the sector. Enhancing digital transformation efforts across all sectors of Bahrain’s economy with targeted plans and initiatives, as well as digitising government services and adopting artificial intelligence-led solutions has continued to be an area of priority for the government.

Manufacturing followed closely, underscoring Bahrain’s innate capabilities in advanced manufacturing backed by its strategic location as a gateway to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market and beyond. Alongside a host of new tourism projects, the island nation’s rich cultural heritage, deep-rooted history of hospitality and island-living laid-back lifestyle have continued to cement Bahrain’s appeal as a premier travel destination. The logistics sector was not far behind in attracting strong investment projects, reflecting Bahrain’s rapidly growing transport and logistics activities.

Khalid Humaidan, the former Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB, was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, having assumed the new position as of February 1st, 2024. In his capacity as Governor, he will remain a member of the board of directors of Bahrain EDB, which comprises members from the public and private sectors.

Khalid Humaidan, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, stated, “2023 is a milestone year for Bahrain EDB. Backed by the agile support of Team Bahrain, a record upwards of USD 1.7 billion in direct local and international investments were attracted into multiple sectors, which will effectively contribute to sustainable economic growth, boosting employment and training opportunities within the local workforce.”

“Bahrain’s FDI stock relative to GDP is well above the global average rate at around 82%, which stands as a testament to the robust trust investors place in Bahrain’s competitive value proposition. FDI remains a strong contributor to Bahrain’s continued success story as an agile, steadily growing, and diversified economy,” he added.

Minister of Sustainable Development, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif joined as Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB In addition to her role as minister, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif will provide executive guidance to the investment promotion agency to ensure it continues to achieve its mandate of supporting strategic initiatives that enhance the existing investment climate, driving in solid local and global investments, and actively encouraging leading global companies to set up in Bahrain. Bahrain remains committed to fostering a supportive ecosystem for investors, with forward-looking policies aimed at simplifying business operations, offering unique competitive advantages leading to success stories with local roots and global impact. These factors, combined with a highly-skilled, bi-lingual, and diverse talent pool, advanced infrastructure, and strategic location, continue to cement Bahrain as an attractive destination for global investors around the world.

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