Bahrain has attracted $53 billion representing 36% of total intra-GCC investments of $147 billion, during the period 1981 to 2010, a senior Government Minister revealed
Dr. Hassan A. Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, in his keynote at the Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East (JCCME) business seminar titled “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvement” held at Beit Al Tijjar on Wednesday, said the majority of such investment inflows in Bahrain, about 73.5% were accounted for from the year 2000 onwards.
“Such remarkable achievements during the past three decades on an intra-GCC level, and especially during the reigning years of His Majesty, is another testimony of the prevailing liberal and friendly investment climate in Bahrain, enhanced by the continued political, economic, social, legislative and labour reforms in our country,” Dr Hassan explained.
He said the seminar is an important business event that comes in continuation of the state visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to Japan last April.
“That successful visit has initiated a new landmark for enhancing the cooperation between our two friendly countries in several strategic and economic fields; including industry, trade, energy planning and sufficiency, space technology, and general investments,” he added.
Particularly, the Minister said, holding of this business seminar, introducing Japanese advanced products and technologies in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement in Bahrain, is an obvious demonstration of the vigor and determination of our two countries for attaining higher levels of cooperation on technological advancement, and environmental sustainability.
Organised by the Embassy of Japan in Bahrain in co-operation with the Japanese Cooperation Centre for the Middle East (JCCME); the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bahrain-Japan Business and Friendship Society, the event has attracted over 200 delegates.
“The scientific and business topics of this seminar and its hi-tech and innovative prospects coincide appropriately with the ambitious objectives of Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, of attaining knowledge-based economy, enhanced innovation, productivity, competitiveness, sustainability, and fairness,” the Minister said.
“The relevance of our seminar today to Bahrain’s economic development and future energy requirements cannot be overemphasised. While Bahrain’s pioneering role is duly recognised for being one of the first oil exploration countries in the region and might I add that it had first exported to Japan in 1934, it was imperative for Bahrain to resort to the diversification of its economy and into industrial development, and indeed of its energy mix and needs,” he added.
“Accordingly, we started focusing on the creation of higher value added industries, which support higher paid and higher skilled employment. We were also determined to moving to clustering industries around a number of core competencies and strategic advantages, targeting higher quality standards, innovation and international competitiveness.”
“Most importantly, due to the constitutional and economic reforming leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and the diligent legal and regulatory system maintained by the Government of Bahrain, we were able to suffer less negativity because of the global financial crisis of 2008.
“It is our duty, at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, to try to guide industry in the right direction through a number of policy initiatives, and by establishing the right level of supporting infrastructure. The Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP) at Salman Industrial City is one of such projects that the Ministry has developed some 640 hectares land, providing physical and logistics infrastructure, and designed to maximise clustering and downstream industries.
“We also aspire to build an industrial economic city in due course, coupled with such industrial diversification and infrastructure upgrading. The Government stride to keep Bahrain as the Middle East’s freest economy, with access to the larger markets of the region and a direct road link via causeway to Saudi Arabia and beyond, and hopefully the proposed new road and rail linkage will join up the whole of the GCC.
“The Bahrain-US Free Trade Agreement also makes Bahrain the most opportune launch gateway in the Region for investments in manufacturing, logistics and services.
“The renewable energy understanding, potential and applications have been under consideration in Bahrain for quite some time and the valuable presentations and interventions of the senior specialists and representatives of Japan’s leading energy companies will take us steps further to entering into specific exchanges and consultations with Bahrain’s active business community and interested entities,” he added.