Bahrain is ‘best value proposition’ – Sheikh Mohammed Al Khalifa

EDB CEO lauds free markets and recent reforms as Bahrain woos FDI
Bahrain is ‘best value proposition’ – Sheikh Mohammed Al Khalifa
Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, the CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board. (Bloomberg)
By Ed Attwood
Sat 30 Oct 2010 02:21 PM

Bahrain’s free market and recent reforms make the country the best location in the Gulf for foreign investment, a top official has said.

Speaking to CNBC, Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, the CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, pointed out that the state had the most diversified economy in the Gulf, with only one percent of employment dependent on the oil sector.

“We are a growing region. Today we are approximately a trillion dollars in GDP and the EIU [Economist Intelligence Unit] forecasts this will grow to two trillion dollars,” Sheikh Mohammed said. 

“So today we are roughly the size of India.  People talk about China and India; our goal is to say ‘don’t forget about the Gulf.

“And within the Gulf, Bahrain offers the best value proposition. We have the rule of law, the strength of regulation, and one of the freest economies in the Gulf for business,” he added.

Sheikh Mohammed was speaking during a World Economic Forum meeting in Marrakech.

His comments were echoed by Rasheed Al Maraj, governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, which is regarded as one of the most progressive in the region.

“There have been serious efforts in bringing reform – both economic and political,” he said.  “As far as banking regulation, we have modelled our framework into the international regulatory framework.”

Bahrain was ranked the thirteenth freest economy in the world, and the most free in the MENA region in a recent index issued by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

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