Bahrain: EDB, Ithmaar Bank join hands on major initiative

Published August 15th, 2006 - 05:59 GMT

The Economic Development Board (EDB) of Bahrain and Ithmaar Bank, a prominent Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, have announced their partnership in a pioneering initiative aimed at enhancing the Kingdom’s competitiveness and economic prospects.


The two institutions are co-sponsoring the Bahrain and the World 2025 study, which will examine Bahrain’s critical variables and develop plausible scenarios about the country’s future in a global context.


The study is being launched under the World Scenario Series of the World Economic Forum (WEF), a Geneva-based independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world.


A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for conducting the Bahrain and the World 2025 study was signed today between the EDB and Ithmaar Bank. The MoU was signed by Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB, and Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Managing Director, Private Banking, at Ithmaar Bank.


Also present at the signing ceremony, which took place at EDB premises, were Ms Jane Dellar, Managing Director, Bahrain Financial Services Development Bureau of EDB, Mrs Sulaf Zakharia, Manager- Research Services Unit at the EDB, Ms Yara Faraj and Mr. Abdulla Al Ghatam, both Directors, Private Banking, at Ithmaar Bank.


The study will be conducted by experts commissioned by the World Economic Forum. Work on the study is to begin in the coming weeks, with final results to be presented in May 2007 at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East gathering, to be held in Jordan.


Commenting on the significance of the project, Shaikh Mohammed said: “The extensive research and, more importantly, the future scenarios will allow for better strategic planning and decision making by both public and private sector institutions in Bahrain, thus maximizing the potential of the country and its institutions.


“The challenge also is to develop new engines of growth for the economy in a rapidly and continuously changing regional and global environment.”


A four-pronged process for the study will encompass detailed research aimed at identifying key issues, key drivers and key uncertainties; scenario building, which will be aimed at analyzing the interplay between underlying drivers; testing for plausibility, consistency and relevance of scenarios; and macroeconomic analysis.


The scenarios, which will be the final outcome of the study, will become a benchmarking tool for evaluating the country’s progress over time. Scenarios are particularly useful as they help identify and challenge underlying business strategies and allow better understanding of risks prior to making substantial, irreversible commitments.


“The EDB is delighted to have found a private sector partner in Ithmaar Bank, to take forward a project, which has the potential to build a new economic architecture for the country,” said Shaikh Mohammed.


Shaikh Salman said Ithmaar Bank is proud to partner with the EDB in this critical endeavor. “Undertaking a study of this nature on possible future scenarios is of particular significance to Bahrain, which has firmly established itself as the premier international financial centre in the Middle East and a major hub for business and commerce,” said Shaikh Salman.


“We all have a stake in Bahrain’s continued success and Ithmaar Bank is delighted to have this opportunity to support this important project. As an institution, which follows ethics-based business practices, Ithmaar Bank takes its social responsibilities very seriously.”

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