MANAMA: The Kingdom of Bahrain is strategically located and serves as a gateway to the $1.6 trillion GCC economy for the British businesses and Companies, according to the CEO of the Economic Development Board (EDB).
“Bahrain and Britain have a long and fruitful relationship stretching back more than 200 years and today there are over 8,000 Britons working and living in Bahrain, more than any other Western expatriate group, many who only came for a year or two and ended up staying on much longer,” Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, Bahrain EDB told over 150 participants of British Embassy’s GREAT Advanced Engineering and Innovation event held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Spa on Sunday.
Addressing during the event which also witnessed the launch of two models of McLaren, Al Rumaihi thanked UKTI and the British Embassy in Bahrain for organising the events of this week and Al Rumaihi said just as Bahrain has become an important part of many Britons’ lives, so has the UK played an important part in many of our lives.
McLaren Manama is represented by Al Ghassan Motors. Ian Gorsuch, Regional Director Middle East and Africa for McLaren Automotive highlighted the salient features of the two models.
“Whether studying at your world-class universities, or working and trading with British businesses, or relaxing to and enjoying British music, film and culture; I believe if you speak to any Bahrainis here today they will all have strong and personal memories of how Britain has been a part of their own lives.
“My own experience as a businessman is probably quite representative, in the early days of my career; I myself lived and worked in London with JP Morgan, covering the Middle East. Today, I am delighted to have the chance to see some of the best examples of British innovation here today,” he said, adding that Bahrain was very familiar with what British engineering and innovation has achieved.
“Bahrain was the destination for Concorde’s first commercial flight from London, and each year we get to witness some great examples of British engineering at the Formula 1 Grand Prix. And many of the best of British engineering firms, banks, accountants and more have thriving, long standing offices that are within a fifteen minute drive of here. In total there nearly 100 British companies in Bahrain, employing around 2,000 people, half of whom are Bahrainis. Bahrain is only a small island – approximately the size of Singapore and with a similar population to Birmingham. But what British businesses understand is that we provide a uniquely positioned location from which to access the $1.6 trillion GCC market – one of the world’s most dynamic growth markets,” he said.
“It is not only the companies who profit from being here. By setting up here, these companies play an important role in our local economy – not just because they create jobs but also because they provide services that help other businesses grow faster. And I hope that those businessmen and women have not just found Bahrain a profitable place to locate. I hope that they’ve also found a home away from home here. In Bahrain we are very proud that people from all over the world can come here and feel that they are part of the country,” he said.
British Ambassador Iain Lindsay highlighted the importance of two-way business ties between Bahrain the UK said that such events would help by bringing the private sectors of both countries closer than ever. He thanked the HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and the 1st Deputy Premier for patronising the event.