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Thu 2 Jul 2009 06:26 AM

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Bahrainis show confidence in local economy - Minister

Commerce chief says locals pump 52% of investment into Gulf state.

Bahraini businessmen are pumping money into their own country, in a clear vote of confidence in the economy, a top official has claimed.

Fifty-two per cent of all direct investment in the country is by locals, said Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro, despite the fact that Bahrain has been open to 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses for years.

"I put a lot of stock in the fact that Bahrainis themselves are the main investors in Bahrain," said Fakhro in comments published by Gulf Daily News on Thursday.

"I interpret (this) to mean that Bahrainis are confident in their own economy and this should be a welcoming sign for potential foreign investors," he added at the opening of the ministry's Invest In Bahrain 2009 Forum, which has attracted more than 450 businessmen from across the region.

The private sector is the driving force of the economy, he said, adding: "Our private sector is simply more plugged-in, if you will, to the economic and social development process and as a consequence is able to influence government policies, which are in any event focused on supporting private sector growth, and in particular on developing current industrial capacity."

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