A high-level Bahraini delegation Participates in WEF 2023

A high-level Bahraini delegation will arrive to the Swiss city Davos tomorrow to participate in the annual World Economic Forum titled “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” which will be held from the 16th until the 20th of January.

The delegation, led by H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development, will shed light on Bahrain’s unique investment opportunities to global decision makers in various business sectors, with the aim of attracting more investments to the Kingdom to contribute to further job creation and boosting the economy.

The high-level delegation includes H.E. Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, H.E. Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Osool and Chairman of Bahrain Telecommunications Company B.S.C (Batelco), H.E. Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), H.E. Iain Lindsay OB OBE, Advisor to the Board at the EDB, Dr. Samer Al Jishi, Group President of BFG International, and Hala Al-Moayyed, Vice Chairman of the Board at Al-Moayyed International Group.

On this occasion, H.E. Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development, commented: “We look forward to participating in the World Economic Forum which provides a platform to connect with key global economic decision-makers and promote investment opportunities in the Kingdom. It is also an opportunity to discuss the global trends in sustainability and investments practices in the midst of economic and geopolitical challenges.”

H.E. the Minister of Sustainable Development will be speaking in a panel titled “Formulating the Future: How Women Are Shaping Sustainability Across Sectors,” and she also will participate alongside H.E. the Minister of Industry and Commerce in a dinner dialogue about climate change in the Middle East. Meanwhile, H.E. Khalid Humaidan will participate in multiple discussion panels titled: “Developing New Realities: Redirected Focus in a Changing World,” “Bricks or Clicks: What Kind of Investment do Economies Need?”, “Sustainable and Digital FDI,” and “Busting Business Barriers.” In addition, the members of Bahrain’s delegation will have multiple strategic meetings and networking events on the sidelines of the forum to promote investment opportunities in Bahrain.

Citi Global Tech Hub in Bahrain is on track to employ 1000 Bahraini coders

Citi Bahrain has celebrated the first anniversary of its Global Technology Hub, which is on track to employ 1000 Bahraini coders over ten years. Currently, the hub comprises of 110 Bahraini employees, out of which 91 Bahrainis have started at the Citi Seef premises, with 19 additional hires set to join soon. Female participants at the Hub make up 22% of the total Bahrainis, outperforming the average of females in other Citi tech hubs around the world.

When selecting a country for its Global Technology Hub, Citi conducted a rigorous technical coding test and interview process, with Bahraini talent showing the highest pass rate when compared to other regions. Even more encouraging was the level of female talent in Bahrain’s candidate pool, as Bahrain ranks first globally in multiple subindices according to Meta’s Inclusive Internet Index (2022), including female digital skills training and STEM education, open data policies, and privacy regulations.

Commenting on the anniversary and the contribution of female participants in the hub, HH Shaikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al-Khalifa, Member of the Supreme Council for Women and Chairwoman of the Bahrain Women in Fintech Committee, said: “We are pleased to see Citi’s achievements a year after the Hub’s launch. Such initiatives contribute positively to achieving the goals of the Women in Fintech Committee working under the National Plan for the Advancement of Bahraini Women, and the National Gender Balance in Future Sciences Initiative, in line with the directions of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 as well as the Kingdom’s digital transformation initiatives. It makes us proud to see Bahraini women directly contributing to the operations and growth of Citi’s Global Tech Hub.”

Furthermore, commenting on the occasion, HE the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, Mr. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, said: “The Financial services sector has progressed over the last decade, and we expect more changes in the coming years as the pace of digitisation increases. We are proud to see Bahraini talents and competencies benefiting and contributing in developing global centres affiliated with reputable financial institutions in order to promote digital solutions in the financial sector”.

According to Citi Bahrain’s CEO, Michel Sawaya, Citi has witnessed great results since the launch. “The coders had a big impact on developing our digital platforms, such as Citi Velocity and CitiFX Pulse. Their positive contribution helped implement important features, and subsequently take part of bigger projects that have helped us serve Citi clients globally” he said.

Citi launched its Global Tech Hub last year as part of a strategic partnership between Tamkeen, Bahrain’s labour fund, and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), the Kingdom’s investment promotion agency. A first in the region, the Hub aims to develop and improve digital solutions for Citi’s regional and global clients while creating 1000 tech jobs for Bahrainis over ten years.

Citi Bahrain currently operates the main Citibank branch in the Seef District. Citi Bahrain is a leading player in Corporate & Investment Banking, and Islamic Banking. Its clients include global multinationals operating in Bahrain managed by the Global Subsidiaries Group team, Bahraini corporates and financial institutions, as well as public sector corporates and. The products and services for institutional clients include financing, capital markets, advisory, hedging, investments, trade and cash management.

EDB attracts a record USD 1.1 billion in direct investment in 2022

Bahrain Bay Skyline

In 2022, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) the Kingdom’s investment promotion agency, supported by Team Bahrain, attracted over USD1.1 billion of direct investment, a record year for the Kingdom’s investment promotion agency. The EDB exceeded the USD1 billion target set by its Board of Directors at the beginning of the year.

The investments are from 88 companies and are expected to generate over 6,300 jobs in the local market over the next three years. The investments are in key sectors, including financial services, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, and tourism.

Under the Economic Recovery Plan, Bahrain will continue to enhance its business environment to increase foreign direct investment by more than USD2.5 billion by 2023. This includes streamlining commercial procedures to increase their effectiveness and easing business setup.

Commenting on the EDB’s record year, HE Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB said “The size of direct investment attracted this year is a testament to Bahrain’s attractiveness to investors. The Kingdom’s offerings include best value operating costs, the availability of a talented workforce, an advanced digital infrastructure and a forward looking regulatory environment.”

This year, Bahrain ranked first in multiple global indices, including the first in MENA for Financial Freedom, Investment Freedom and Trade Freedom according to Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom 2022 and first in MENA for Economic Freedom according to the Fraser Institute.

Bahrain’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows increased by USD1.766 billion in 2021, marking a 73% year-on-year increase and surpassing the global FDI average growth, according to the 2022 World Investment Report issued by the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In 2021, Bahrain’s inward FDI stocks increased by 6%, reaching USD33.47 billion. This represented 86% of Bahrain’s GDP, ranking Bahrain as the highest in GCC and surpassing the global average of 47%.

Leading digital marketing academy, Growth Velocity, moves its headquarters to Bahrain

Growth Velocity Academy’s Bootcamps will offer Bahrainis invaluable skills and hands-on training to meet the rising demand for digital marketing.

Supported by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), leading digital marketing academy, Growth Velocity Academy announced moving its headquarters to the Kingdom of Bahrain to accelerate growth and tap into the MENA region’s growing markets.

Growth Velocity Academy will start operations by launching its Digital Marketing Accelerator Bootcamps, which offer a unique hands-on experience taught by industry-leading marketing professionals to provide world-class training for Bahrainis. The Academy’s programs focus on delivering cutting-edge practical skills & a growth mindset to all trainees, enabling marketers and entrepreneurs to gain confidence using various tools and frameworks to target and acquire customers online.

Commenting on this announcement, Munther Almudawi, Executive Director – Business Development at Bahrain EDB said: “We are excited to see Growth Velocity Academy moving to Bahrain and launching its training programs to upskill digital Bahraini talent. This is in line with the pillars under the country’s Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to train 10,000 Bahrainis annually until 2024 to create promising job opportunities and ensure Bahrainis are the first choice for employers.”

Howard Kingston, co-founder of Growth Velocity Academy expressed his enthusiasm about opening the courses to empower Bahraini talent, stressing the importance of Digital Marketing in today’s world. He said: “The world has changed. Right now, more than ever, we need the right strategies, the connection with the audience and the motivation to get ahead of the curve. The pandemic has forced every business to market online, creating the biggest new opportunity for Digital Marketers and Digital Businesses in the past decade.” He added, “it’s only the people who know how to market a business digitally that won’t get left behind.

We’re excited to continue to serve the MENA market and we felt that headquartering the business in Bahrain is the perfect launchpad for us to fulfill our vision.”

As part of the National Economic Recovery Plan, Bahrain launched a Telecommunications, ICT, and Digital Economy Sector Strategy (from the years 2022 until 2026) which aims to establish a world-class Bahraini digital infrastructure, develop cybersecurity standards, attract big-tech companies to the Kingdom, and make Bahrain a regional digital innovation hub. Interested people can apply to join Growth Velocity Academy’s Digital Marketing Program by visiting: https://growthvelocity.academy/gva-bahrain

Bahrain attracts USD291 million worth of investment in the Tourism Sector

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), supported by Team Bahrain, has attracted USD291 million (BHD110 million) in direct investments in the tourism sector during the first three quarters of 2022.

Tourism investments are coming through eight companies expanding or entering Bahrain for the first time and are expected to generate over 1090 jobs over the next three years.

In total, Bahrain EDB attracted USD921 million (BHD348 million) in direct investment from 66 companies during the first nine months of the year. The investments are expected to generate over 4,700 jobs over the next three years in key sectors, including financial services, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, and tourism.

Munther Al-Mudawi, Executive Director – Business Development for Tourism at Bahrain EDB, commented:“We are pleased to witness this momentum in the tourism sector post Covid-19. All the indicators showing that we are in the right direction to recover, and with our four-year Tourism Strategy under the Economic Recovery Plan, we are hoping to attract even more investments and welcome 14 million tourists by 2026.”

As part of the Kingdoms’ Economic Recovery Plan, Bahrain announced a new 4-year strategy (2022-2026) for the tourism sector that aims to attract 14.1 million tourists by 2026. The strategy’s framework has four main objectives: To increase the contribution of the tourism sector to GDP to reach 11.4 percent in 2026, highlight Bahrain’s position as a global tourist hub, increase the number of targeted countries to attract more tourists, and diversify tourism products.

According to the latest statistics, Bahrain registered 6.9 million visitors by the end of September 2022. The hospitality and hotel sector recorded around 5.9 million tourist nights, and the total tourism revenues amounted to around USD1.7 billion (BHD 622.4 million) during the first half of 2022.

World’s 3rd largest freight forwarder DSV opens regional logistics hub in Bahrain Logistic Zone

14,000 sqm facility expands capabilities in key market

DSV, the world’s third-largest freight forwarder and leading global logistics provider opened a 14,000 square metre logistics facility in Bahrain Logistics Zone in Hidd to expand its warehousing capabilities in the area.

The new facility supports contract logistics with ambient, chilled and frozen storage, as well as solutions for high-value cargo. It will offer secure records management services, and storage/turnkey logistics for Bahrain-based manufacturers in the fast-moving consumer goods industry.

With a storage capacity of 24,000 pallet positions, the new facility increases DSV’s controlled-temperature warehouse capacity in the Kingdom of Bahrain to a total of 65,000 pallet positions and 75,000 square metres. The increase in capacity enables the company to continue to support its customers in a market of increasing interest and demand.

Since 1997, DSV has operated and grown its business in Bahrain, and with the 2021 acquisition of Agility GIL, the company further strengthened its operations in the region. The new facility in Bahrain represents an $18 million investment by DSV, and is the company’s second expansion in the country in just three years. It follows the 2019 opening of a 28,000 square metre warehouse, also in Hidd. DSV’s further expansion in Bahrain is a testament to the company’s commitment to the promising market.

Elias Monem Executive, Vice President for Solutions & Road, DSV – MENA region, says: “Bahrain is an important and growing operational market to DSV in the Middle East. Its advanced infrastructure and favourable geographical placement are central factors in choosing to extend our business in the country. The new facility in Bahrain Logistics Zone will allow us to respond to the high demand and better serve customers in the region.”

The facility was inaugurated on November 15 in a ceremony hosted by DSV and H.E. Mohamed bin Thamer Al-Kaabi, Bahraini Minister of Transportation & Telecommunication. Mr. Al-Kaabi is pleased with DSV’s investments in the country:

As a country undergoing constant economic growth, we have a strategic objective to strengthen Bahrain’s position as a leading maritime and logistics hub. Continuing to attract international investments such as this one from DSV is crucial in realising this goal. Bahrain’s favourable geographic location, attractive liberal business environment and economic potential makes it an obvious investment opportunity for global companies such as DSV.” he says.

As a booming economy, Bahrain represents an interesting market for DSV. According to a report issued by the Information & eGovernment Authority, in Q2 of 2022, Bahrain’s GDP grew by 6.95% in real prices and 22.87% at nominal prices. The growth is mainly attributed to higher growth in the non-oil sector.

H.E. Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive at the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said:

“Bahrain offers the best-value operating costs for a logistics business, with strong connectivity by air, land and sea. This has encouraged several companies to utilize our strategic location and free trade agreements in order to set up businesses and access the GCC and wider MENA region. DSV’s investment in Bahrain’s logistics industry is testament to the business confidence that the Kingdom provides.”

The logistics sector is a priority sector under the Kingdom’s extensive Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to position Bahrain as one of the top 20 global destinations for logistic services and increase the logistics services sector’s GDP contribution to 10 percent.

G4S Cash Solutions invests more than US $3 million in expanding Bahrain operation the expansion will generate 160 jobs

G4S, the world’s leading integrated security company, specialising in the provision of security services and solutions to customers and active in 85 markets, will be expanding its Bahrain operation with an investment more than US $3 million and it will create 160 jobs in Bahrain within three years, with the support of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

G4S obtained the Ancillary Service Provider – Cash Processing Services license from the CBB, where G4S will provide multiple activities, including cash management and deposit preparation, corporate/retail consolidation, processing of deposits for banks, ATM balancing, reconciliation, and administration.

The Managing Director of G4S Cash Solutions Bahrain Christos Volis said: “This expansion will enable us to provide a wide range of services to customers. The Kingdom of Bahrain has been supportive throughout the set-up process, and we look forward to benefiting from the Kingdom’s forward-looking regulations and highly developed financial services sector. We would like to thank the EDB and CBB for their support in this journey.”

Ali Almudaifa, Chief Investment Officer at Bahrain EDB said: “We are pleased with G4S decision to expand their operation in Bahrain, this is a reflection of the growth of the financial services sector.”

Bahrain-grown Bambucorn obtains Crowdfunding Operator license CBB

Bahrain skyline during the night time

Supported by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), Bambucorn Bahrain WLL, Bahrain grown equity crowdfunding platform has obtained the license from the Central Bank of Bahrain to carry out activities of Ancillary Service Provider – Crowdfunding Platform Operator. Bambucorn will enable startups, SMEs and real estate projects to raise equity from both accredited and retail investors.

The license from the Central Bank of Bahrain will effectively enable Bambucorn to raise capital for issuers in Bahrain and those located outside Bahrain. One of Bambucorn’s group companies is already licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority to operate an equity crowdfunding platform in the UAE. The recent license obtained from the Central Bank of Bahrain further signifies the group’s commitment to contributing to the region’s growing Fintech ecosystem.

Fareed Bader, Co-founder and Chairman of Bambucorn Group commented: “Bahrain has always been at the forefront when it comes to Fintech and the regulators are playing a pivotal role in ensuring that investors’ interests are adequately protected whilst at the same time providing enough opportunities for innovative Fintech companies to flourish in the country. We certainly look forward to working alongside all stakeholders to optimize the capital raising exercise for startups, SMEs and real estate projects.”

Narayanan Ganapathy, Co-founder of Bambucorn Bahrain commented: “Capital allocation has always been a challenge and oftentimes tricky, particularly when it comes to early-stage investments. Providing both accredited and retail investors the ability to write smaller checks towards early-stage ventures and real estate opportunities helps investors diversify their portfolios. Businesses looking to gain customer loyalty can resort to crowdfunding, providing their customers the ability to acquire equity interests in them through the platform. The CBB license certainly strengthens Bambucorn’s foothold in the region as an innovative Fintech company.”

Commenting on this occasion, Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director of Business Development – Financial Services, said: “Bahrain’s forward-looking regulators consistently made it the first choice for Fintech companies setting up in this region. We’re happy to see Bambucorn receive its license from the CBB, which is a testament to our robust financial regulatory system that has enabled many companies to innovate in Bahrain and serve the wider region.” Bahrain offers technology and financial services disruptors a gateway to the Gulf markets, providing traditional banking institutions, FinTech startups, and scaleups a collaborative space to test and scale new products across the entire region. Developing the FinTech subsector in Bahrain is one of the priorities under the Financial Services Sector’s Development Strategy that comes as part of the National Economic Recovery Plan to drive future growth.

Bahrain attracts US$72.7 million worth of investment in financial services

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), supported by Team Bahrain has attracted US$72.7 million (BHD27.5 million) in direct investments during the first three quarters of 2022 through nine financial services companies either setting up in or expanding their business within the Kingdom. The financial services investments are expected to generate over 840 jobs over the next three years.

Financial services companies attracted by Bahrain EDB include the leading global blockchain services provider Binance, locally grown open Banking company Spire Technologies, and new regional headquarters for Gulf Insurance Group (GIG).

Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director – Business Development for Financial Services at Bahrain EDB, said: “We are delighted to see more and more investors entering Bahrain’s financial services sector, benefiting from a strong and agile ecosystem led by a forward-thinking regulatory body. Financial services is a priority sector for us to grow investments and create jobs, in line with the objectives set out in Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan.”

Overall, Bahrain EDB attracted USD921 million (BHD348 million) in direct investment from 66 companies during the first nine months of the year. The investments are expected to generate over 4,700 jobs over the next three years in key sectors, including financial services, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, and tourism.

Bahrain’s financial services sector is the most significant contributor to the Kingdom’s GDP after oil and is the oldest and most established in the region. Today the sector accounts for over 17% of Bahrain’s GDP and employs over 13,600, with Bahrainis representing almost 70%.

Through the Economic Recovery Plan, Bahrain aims to grow the financial services sector’s contribution to GDP to 20% by 2026. The financial services sector development strategy focuses on five main priorities: creating job opportunities, developing capital markets, strengthening legislation and regulatory policies, growing the insurance sector, and developing financial services and fintech.

Tamkeen Announces a Pitching and Fundraising Training Program for Bahraini Entrepreneurs “StartUp Bahrain Pitch”

The Labour Fund (Tamkeen) announced the launch of a new series of entrepreneurship training programs under the name “StartUp Bahrain Pitch”, that focus on the fundamentals of fundraising and pitching to investors with the aim of empowering Bahraini entrepreneurs to secure the funds required to grow their startups. These programs are the result of a Team Bahrain collaboration that includes public and private sector ecosystem champions such as: the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Bahrain Development Bank (BDB), Bahrain Entrepreneurship Organization, and StartUp Bahrain alongside key players from the private sector.

The programs were designed in collaboration with the partners to support high potential Bahraini startups that have a strong potential for growth and expansion. Given the importance of fundraising to facilitate growth for startups, the program will begin with a phase that focuses on this topic through three courses: Investment Readiness Course, What Angel Investors Learn Before They Invest Course, and Qualified Angel Investment Certification. The programs will be delivered in two iterations that target early stage and growth stage startups. After the training, the shortlisted participants will be hosted in a pitching event where they will pitch their businesses to a panel of investors for the potential to raise capital and win cash prizes. The program aims to train 80 startups per year and host pitch events for 32 startups to get a chance to raise funding. The training courses will be delivered in collaboration with the World Business Angel Investment Forum.

Commenting on this initiative, Ms. Maha Mofeez, Acting Chief Executive of the Labour Fund (Tamkeen) emphasized the importance of startups for the economy and Tamkeen’s ongoing support to ensure their sustainability and productivity. She stated: “Startups are catalysts for growth in any economy, they provide employment opportunities, drive innovation and advance technology. Fostering a startup ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs and helps startups thrive and grow is a goal that we are committed to.”

She added: “Through this program we are tackling one of the main challenges facing startups which is fundraising. Fundraising is crucial for their growth and expansion potential therefore we developed a program that will equip Bahraini entrepreneurs with the tools and skills required to secure funding for their businesses through a series of training programs and pitching events that put them in front of serious real-world investors who can add value to their companies both through funding and sharing knowledge and experience”

From her side, Mrs. Dalal Al Qais, CEO of Bahrain Development Bank said: “Such joint initiatives that come within the Team Bahrain collaboration encourage innovation and enhance the capabilities of entrepreneurs to start their business that ultimately supports in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The program offers great opportunities to the participants and to the supporting institutions to be connected to an effective network that facilitates investment in startups and transforms the ideas of entrepreneurs into profitable projects. This reflects one of the important aspects and programs that Bahrain Development Bank is committed to support in partnership with other key stakeholder and supporting institutions, particularly the Economic Development Board, the Labor Fund “Tamkeen”, StartUp Bahrain & Bahrain Entrepreneurship Organization”.

Al Qais explained that investment and access to finance are key challenges to startups and Bahraini entrepreneurs, and therefore we are optimistic with the development of such initiative we can provide entrepreneurs with the necessary skills that will support them throughout the different stages of the business cycle increasing their chances to gain access to finance and investment opportunities.

Commenting on this, Nada Alsaeed, Executive Director of Strategy & Research at Bahrain EDB said: “Our skilled and tech-savvy workforce has been a major driver for innovative homegrown startups in Bahrain, and with continued initiatives like these, we will be able to witness even more growth in the Bahraini startup ecosystem, which will encourage sustainable economic development and create more job opportunities in the Kingdom.”

From her end, Mrs. Feryal Abdullah Nass, Founder and Chairwomen of the Bahrain Entrepreneurs Organization, stressed the organization’s keenness on empowering Bahraini entrepreneurs and enabling them to scale their businesses. She stated: “We are excited to collaborate with Tamkeen on this initiative which will equip entrepreneurs with the tools and skills they require to raise funding for their business ventures. Fundraising is vital for accelerating the growth and success of good business ideas and I look forward to seeing the unique concepts that graduate from this program”

Tamkeen will execute this program through “Startup Bahrain”, a platform that will serve startups and entrepreneurs locally, to build a strong network for the ecosystem, identify and solve the ecosystem challenges and connect startups with the suitable Tamkeen programs.

Bahraini entrepreneurs and startup founders who have a scalable business, an existing customer base and valid CRs are encouraged to apply for this program to reap the benefits of training with experts and access viable funding opportunities. Applications will be open from 30 October on the StartUp Bahrain website: startupbahrain.com/pitch


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