MANAMA — The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) on Sunday announced a record year for inward investment in 2017, having attracted 71 new companies to Bahrain with investments amounting to $733 million. This is expected to increase job creation by those companies by up to 72%, generating more than 2,800 local jobs over the next three years.
The investments span key strategic growth sectors, including ICT, Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, Tourism, and Financial Services, in line within the EDB’s mandate to act as a catalyst for economic diversification, growth and job creation in support of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.
Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the EDB, said: “We are delighted to announce the EDB’s record achievements in 2017. This is the result of a significant joint effort between the EDB and our partner public sector organizations to realize Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and drive forward our transition into a diversified economy that harnesses the productivity of our talented population to compete on a global level.
“Bahrain is in a unique position to attract investments from international and regional companies seeking to access opportunities across the $1.5 trillion GCC markets, thanks to the Kingdom’s strategic location and highly supportive regulatory environment which provides businesses with advanced infrastructure, low operating costs and highly trained local workforce. In 2018, we are continuing to build on these strengths to grow key sectors across the Kingdom.”
The EDB’s record number of investments in 2017 represents a significant increase of 161% compared to 2016, which saw $281 million in investments from 40 companies.
The ICT sector was the Kingdom’s highest attractor of inward investment in 2017, comprising a significant 54% of the total investment in the sector, led by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Manufacturing attracted a fifth of the total investment, comprising of 20% and led by investments from Mondelez international group, followed by transport and logistics at over 10%, led by investments from Agility and Armada.
Tourism, a high potential growth sector, attracted major investments from Action Hotels and taxi services app, Careem, accounting for a further 10% of the Kingdom’s inward investments in 2017. The financial services sector attracted almost 5% of the total investment, including from PayTabs, the leading payment solutions company, and Invita, the multi-lingual contact centre and business process outsourcing (BPO) provider.
In 2018, the EDB is continuing to build on these successes with announcements in the pipeline across the key sectors, with a particular focus on technology driven growth and the high potential of FinTech, the focus of the upcoming first Fintastic Bahrain Week – bringing together leading voices to explore the future of innovation in financial services. — SG