Bahrain’s Minister of Sustainable Development and CE of Bahrain EDB Joins Ministerial Panel at the 2024 GCC-ASEAN Economic & Investment Conference

H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) joined senior ministers and leaders at the GCC-ASEAN Economic & Investment Conference, which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 28, 2024; attending the opening ceremony, participating in the closing ministerial panel discussion and additionally hosting several bilateral meetings with key counterparts and officials at the sidelines of the conference. The 2024 conference aimed to encourage increased economic cooperation and explore investment opportunities between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) across various sectors.

Bahrain’s Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB joined H.E. Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Minister of Investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Dato’ Hairil Yahri Yaacob, Secretary General at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia, H.E Russ Jalichandra, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, in a panel titled ‘Economics, Investments, Trade & Partnerships’. The high-level panel explored joint trade and investment opportunities between GCC and ASEAN across the priority sectors identified across both regions, discussing mechanisms to enhance ties in line with the ASEAN-GCC Framework of Cooperation for 2024-2028. The session aimed to showcase ongoing partnerships and initiatives that have fostered increased bilateral cooperation, diving into the role of the private sector in encouraging the development of a more robust environment to boost investment flows for the prosperity of the collective region.

After extending her congratulations to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on convening the pivotal conference on the heels of the first ASEAN-GCC October 2023 Summit, H.E. expressed her vested commitment to continuing to strengthen the solid partnerships built within the GCC and with the ASEAN countries, commenting, “We firmly believe the Framework provides ample opportunities for collaboration between countries. As an island nation with a deep-rooted history of being a regional hub of trade and investment, we advocate forming collaborative ties that go beyond bilateral trade, extending to exchanging talent, co-investments, and knowledge sharing in areas for sustainable economic prosperity.”

Her Excellency added, “The Kingdom of Bahrain launched the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) during Q4 2021 to encourage post pandemic recovery, which was fueled by a clear focus on attracting investment into key strategic sectors – namely financial services, manufacturing, ICT, logistics, and tourism. The pillars outlined in the ERP additionally prioritise future-proofing local talent with digital skills, which is further backed by a national digital transformation strategy on an economic, policy, and infrastructural level. These priorities are directly aligned with both the Framework of Cooperation, and Blueprint Bahrain – our roadmap to achieving our net zero commitments to secure a sustainable economic future.” The 2024 Conference follows the first ever interregional summit held in 2023 between GCC and ASEAN, which recognised the value multilateral approaches to tackle regional and global challenges creating a dialogue to discuss solutions to further develop the ASEAN-GCC interregional partnership based on shared interests and strong historical ties. Last year’s Summit adopted a Framework of Cooperation (2024-2028) document, which set out an action plan for realising the objectives of interregional cooperation.

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