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Over 2 days, the inaugural Gateway Gulf forum facilitated open dialogue and show-cased projects worth $26 billion across multiple sectors with a focus on technology, oil and gas, real estate, tourism, housing, power, water, transport, public works and manufacturing to government and business leaders and investors from the GCC and around the world. The event featured over 90+ speakers, and 850+ delegates from more than 40 countries.
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H.R.H. Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board attended several sessions at Gateway Gulf Forum with H.E. Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Director General of the Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister.
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Al Sahel Resort announced the development of the Kingdom’s first five-star retreat in southwest Bahrain on the sidelines of Gateway Gulf Forum. The resort is the first phase of the Al Sahel development, to be complete within two years. It boasts 1.25 km of pristine coastline and will feature both room and villa-based accommodation, in addition to a comprehensive range of entertainment and leisure components. The wider destination will complement the resort and include leisure, retail and entertainment options to provide a complete offering away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Jumeirah Group, the global hospitality company and a member of Dubai Holding, has already signed a hotel management agreement to operate a luxury Jumeirah hotel and spa within the first phase of the development.
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Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) launched a $100m Venture Capital Fund of Funds aimed at boosting the start-up ecosystem in Bahrain and the Middle East during Gateway Gulf Forum. The Al Waha Fund of Funds will invest in venture capital funds that have a presence in Bahrain – providing additional capital to funds supporting startups in Bahrain and across the Middle East.
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Bahrain’s Minister of Oil, H.E. Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, announced the launch of $1 Billion Bahrain Energy Fund on the sidelines of Gateway Gulf Forum. The fund will be the first such fund in the GCC and will be unique in providing institutional investors with access to local energy assets, invest in a range of energy projects in Bahrain across the downstream, mid-stream and upstream sectors. The Fund will also introduce private capital to finance major infrastructure and enhance energy projects.
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Teresa Carlson, Vice President, World Wide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services Said: “We go into regions for the long-term, and we chose Bahrain as our first Middle East location because of the Crown Prince's leadership, and the process in place for creating the right environment.”
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During a panel session at Gateway Gulf, Wamda Group Executive Chairman, Fadi Ghandour Said: “The GCC’s hard infrastructure is excellent. For its soft infrastructure, we need to ask how we’re preparing young people for the job market – are we preparing them to be job creators or job seekers?”
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During a panel session at Gateway Gulf, Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of NEOM said: “What speaks for NEOM? Firstly, a beautiful location, and secondly, we are creating a future-oriented, investor-friendly environment where people can try new ideas.”
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During a panel session at Gateway Gulf, H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive at Bahrain Economic Development Board said: “The GCC's large consuming population and high per capita income, together with potentially US$2 trillion in the investment pipeline, are far outweighing any risks in the eyes of investors.”
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During a panel session at Gateway Gulf, H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor at the Central Bank of Bahrain said: “My job as a regulator is not to predict the future of technology, but to create the right environment for any new technology to contribute to the financial sector in the best way.”