Bahrain-London collaborate on education in financial sector
Bahrain and London can work together to keep finance at the heart of industry and employment, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), told the Lord Mayor of the City of London in a speech at the University of Bahrain today.
The Lord Mayor, Alderman Nick Anstee, is in Bahrain this week with a team of leading British financiers to boost business between the UK financial sector and the Kingdom. In his address on “Financial Services and the Role of Education”, Shaikh Mohammed said the two financial centres share ethical values – the fundamentals of transparency and sound regulation – and a culture for innovation. In a “re-set” world, these are now more important than ever and a continued investment in education has a key role in meeting the challenge of the future, he added.
“The values of sound regulation and rule of law for which London is respected around the world are values that we also hold dear in Bahrain. These values have formed the basis for the steady growth of our own strong financial sector, built over the past 40 years. As in London, one of our greatest assets in Bahrain is our people, who have the qualifications and skills to help drive forward our financial sector. We are committed to fostering a productive dialogue on education with our good friends in the City of London. I hope we can continue to work closely and productively in this important field on which – now more than ever – our future depends on.”
Bahrain has been building its education system – the first to be established in the Gulf – for 90 years and EDB-led reforms are driving improvements in line with the requirements of international business. The Kingdom’s education policy has been developed with a clear sense of which sectors it wants to grow and what employment opportunities will be created. This is key to the ambitions of Bahrain’s Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy, to raise national living standards by providing greater opportunities in rewarding careers in the private sector.
Shaikh Mohammed added: “In Bahrain, we believe education is the single most important factor in helping to improve sustainability, productivity and prosperity in any society. Fairness and opportunity for all our people is our primary goal. Schooling is free and compulsory for all Bahrainis, irrespective of gender faith or family income.
“We have developed financial programmes at the University of Bahrain, our new Polytechnic and our unique Bahrain Institute of Banking of Finance, from which I have personally been inspired to see talented young Bahrainis progress their careers in financial institutions in Bahrain, across the Gulf and the world. And there is a range of scholarship programmes, spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s International Scholarship Programme, which enables young women and men to attend some of the world’s greatest universities and gain valuable experience in investment banks and financial institutions.”
Shaikh Mohammed noted the wider benefits of a strong financial sector. More than a major business in its own right, it is also the motor that drives so many other industries; a great financial centre draws investment to provide companies with the ability to grow their output, profits and jobs, he said.
“The central importance of all banks, investment houses, brokers, insurance companies and their financial institutions is that they provide the services that enable other businesses to launch and grow. Bahrain’s approach has always been to emphasise the importance of open and transparent regulation to create an environment where there are opportunities for growth that are sustainable.”
Shaikh Mohammed had yesterday welcomed the Lord Mayor to the offices of the EDB, which has the overall responsibility for formulating and overseeing the economic strategy of the Kingdom and creating the right climate to attract foreign investment. The Lord Mayor also held talks with His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Chairman of the EDB, and leading players in Bahrain’s financial markets to bolster UK-Bahrain industry ties.
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