By Beatrice Thomas
Experts predict if the trend continues, foreign investment could cross $1bn
Bahrain’s foreign direct investment topped $989 million last year, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year and outpacing foreign FDI flows of 9 percent, a report has found.
As well, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2014 said that FDI into Bahrain in 2012 was $891m, a 14 percent increase on 2011, Gulf Daily News reported.
Experts said if a similar growth trend were to continue this year, the inflows would cross the $1 billion mark.
Last year was the second in a row featuring double digit growth in FDI for the kingdom, since the global economic downturn.
The report also shows that last year Bahrain’s inward FDI as a percentage of gross domestic product was 55.3 percent, FDI inflows as a percentage of nominal GDP was three percent, and FDI inflows as a percentage of gross fixed capital formation was 15.7 percent - the highest in the GCC.
“Foreign investment continues to help boost private sector growth in Bahrain and provide Bahrainis with new high value-added jobs," Transportation Minister and EDB acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed was quoted as saying.
“This is a strong volume of FDI and, importantly for us, it is also smart FDI that creates sustainable growth and long-term Bahraini jobs.”
The EDB, the agency with overall responsibility for attracting inward investment, announced in January that 35 international businesses had established operations in the kingdom last year as a result of its direct outreach activities alone, GDN reported.
The businesses, from North America, Europe and Asia, will create more than 800 jobs in Bahrain over the course of three years across a range of sectors, including financial and professional services, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and ICT.