EDB to support Al Dana and Ferguson Partners Conference that focuses on significant growth potential in Bahrain and The GCC region

September 17, 2013

Bahrain Economic Development Board supports Al Dana and Ferguson Partners Conference in Manama, being held to discuss the growing investment opportunities in the region
At a Conference being host this week in Manama by Al Dana and Ferguson Partners, and supported by the Bahrain Economic
Development Board (EDB), Tamkeen and Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB), the attendees are discussing the current and future investment opportunities in Bahrain and across the GCC region.
The Conference, taking place from September 16th to 18th, is hosting 25 global companies, 31 international delegates and over 120 local and GCC participants across a range of different sectors, encompassing international project owners, investors and financiers, as well as key officials from Bahrain. The Conference is taking place over three days, with panellists and speakers including: Dr. Steen Ehlern, CEO of Ferguson Partners Family Office; Muneera Al Mubarak, CEO of Al Dana Partners; Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist at the EDB; Khalid Hamad Abdul-Rahman Hamad, Executive Director – Banking Supervision in Central Bank of Bahrain and Jamal Al-Hazeem CEO of BMI Bank in Bahrain.
Speaking on the first day of the Conference, EDB Chief Economist Dr. Kotilaine highlighted that there is high growth potential in the region, particularly with the GCC having a young demographic age profile by global standards, with over 50% of the population under 25 years. Sustained substantial investments have been made in economic diversification and the development of physical and social infrastructure, which has contributed to real GDP growth rate of over 5% in the region over the past decade.
Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist at the EDB said:
“One of the key competitive advantages in this part of the world is the growing young population, and so investing in human capital will be critical for the sustained expansion of the non-oil economy. Bahrain enjoys an established track record of educational reform and liberalisation. In fact, the Kingdom has one of the best educated and most diversified workforces in the region, with Bahrainis active in all sectors of the economy.”
He added: “With these strong underlying growth drivers, the GCC economy, currently valued at $1.5 trillion, is expected to reach two trillion dollars by 2020. Bahrain itself saw GDP growth of 3.4% in 2012, with non-oil growth reaching 6.7%, and estimated overall growth in 2013 is expected to exceed 5% on the back of a rebound in oil production and ongoing expansion in the non-oil sector.”
Dr. Steen Ehlern, CEO of Ferguson Partners Family Office, commented: “We are striving to build a bridge to bring global business communities together to share investment opportunities as well as understand how business is done in the respective regions.  The event provides a platform from which investors and business leaders can understand the real value of the GCC markets, and the advantages that Bahrain offers as a location for investment.”
A high-level business delegation from the United Kingdom, Jersey, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Australia attended the event, and engaged in talks with officials and private sector business leaders from Bahrain. Members of the delegation also participated in the panel discussions that discussed the future of Arab-German business cooperation.
Germany is considered one of the region’s most important trading partners and specifically for Bahrain. Trade between the two countries totalled US$542 million in 2011 and is continuing to grow, whilst the Kingdom is home to more than 50 German businesses, many of which use Bahrain as a platform to access the wider GCC market.
The UK too, enjoys strong bilateral trade and cultural relations with Bahrain, with trade between the two countries totalling US$407 million in 2011 with over 7,000 British expatriates living and working in the Kingdom.
Notes to editors
About The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB)
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency with an overall responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths.

Key areas of focus include manufacturing, ICT, and logistics and transport services as well as other sub-sectors. The Financial Services sector in Bahrain is particularly strong and the EDB supports in the continuing growth of the banking industry and key sub-sectors, including Islamic Finance, Asset Management, Insurance and Re-Insurance.

For more information on the Bahrain EDB visit www.bahrainedb.com; for information about Bahrain visit www.bahrain.com

Further information please contact:
Noora Abul, Bahrain Economic Development Board
Tel: +973 17 589 903
Email: internationalmedia@bahrainedb.com
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