The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and Greater Paris Investment Agency will today sign a deal to jointly promote France and Bahrain as regional business hubs and facilitate bilateral investment.
A delegation from the French investment promotion agency is in Manama to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), its first with a Gulf nation. The agreement will see the two organisations work in partnership to present France and the Kingdom as ideal bases for investors looking to access the European and trillion dollar Gulf markets respectively.
Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the EDB, said: “We welcome the delegation from The Greater Paris Investment Agency to Bahrain. This MoU represents a unique opportunity for building close working relations and strong commercial and economic ties. In today’s world, our ongoing reform programme – driven by Vision 2030 – offers the optimum business environment for international companies such as those from France to do business both in and from.”
The EDB, which has the responsibility for creating the right climate to attract foreign investment, is leading the process of Bahrain’s Vision 2030 under the guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of the EDB. The plans are designed to drive the private sector as an engine for growth, support further diversification of the economy – already recognised as the most diversified in the region – and ultimately elevate national living standards by creating greater opportunities for Bahrainis.
The MoU is for an initial period of three years, in which time both parties will facilitate investment and partnerships between respective business communities. Under the terms of the deal, there is also an agreement to work with the relevant authorities to ease doing business between the two nations and the hosting of workers, researchers and students from each country.
Pierre Simon, Chairman of the Greater Paris Investment Agency, added: “Bahrain is known for its attractive and liberal business environment from which international companies – including those from France – can best access the trillion dollar Gulf market and wider Middle East. And the 35 billion EUR ‘Grand Paris’ project will transform the French capital into a world-class business destination companies from the GCC wanting to access the French market and Europe.”
The delegation led by Mr Simon, who is also Chairman of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will tomorrow meet with Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and Mumtalakat as well as several private investors. Tonight they will attend a Gala dinner alongside key officials, dignitaries and guests from the Bahraini private sector, that of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations will join them.
A number of leading French companies have already chosen Bahrain as a regional base including BNP Paribas. And in July last year GDF Suez, the French-based energy company, along with Gulf Investment Cooperation (GIC) completed limited recourse financing for the $2.1 billion Al-Dur water and power producer (IWPP) project – the largest privately-owned industrial project in Bahrain.
In addition to Mr Simon, the delegation includes: