$1 billion Science and Technology Park to be built in Bahrain
Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has announced the launch of a $1 billion Science and Technology Park plan in Bahrain, which will be the first in the region. The world-class park will host small, medium, and large technology companies to grow niche markets, and will attract global science and technology companies to the Kingdom. This initiative will boost and encourage innovation in technology and scientific research, while providing a solid infrastructure for the development of the technology sector in Bahrain.
As a first step, the Economic Development Board (EDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kuwait Finance House (KFH) to establish a science and technology park. The EDB will act as a facilitator to ensure implementation of the project which is expected to develop the region's scientific research expertise and bring greater diversity to Bahrain's economy. The net inflow of new investment and technology transfer to Bahrain will have a positive effect on the economy.
The MOU was signed by Dr. Zakaria Hejres, Deputy Chief Executive of the EDB, and Osama Al-Khajah, Head of Project Development at the KFH, at a press conference held at the EDB's headquarters.
Mr. Al-Khajah estimates that the $1 billion project will be executed in three term phases. The first phase will focus on the infrastructure of the project, with the second and third phases on development of science laboratories, educational partnerships and lifestyle aspects. The Bahrain Science and Technology Park has already partnered with world-renowned institutions and universities, such as Sophia Antipolis, to build a dedicated international platform for research and development. An announcement of a partnership with a leading European University is also expected soon.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB, said: "This park reflects the importance Bahrain places on science and technology. A world-class park will attract prestigious international technology-based companies into Bahrain, from where they can serve the region and build up a local knowledge base. This project will also provide jobs for Bahraini graduates, and help establish Bahrain as the science and technology hub of the region."
Sheikh Mohammed called upon the private sector to take the initiative to establish specialised science and technology clusters in the Kingdom to reinforce Bahrain's expertise in the sector.
Mr Abdul Hakim Al Khayat, Chief Executive of KFH, said that Kuwait Finance House is very proud to be supporting the Bahraini economy with such a project. "This initiative will attract two types of projects – technological, and scientific research and development," he said. "The target sectors for the new park include new technologies, such as clean technology, renewable energy, environment, information and communications."
Kuwait Finance House has appointed Mr Philippe Mariani, former director of the world-famous Sophia Antipolis Technology Park in France as Senior Business Advisor in charge of developing the project.