Bahrain-Singapore synergies provide mutual opportunities

Published March 23rd, 2009 - 10:13 GMT

Bahrain-Singapore synergies provide mutual opportunities
- EDB CHIEF EXECUTIVE IN SINGAPORE TO ENCOURAGE COOPERATION -

Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), today arrived in Singapore to encourage further understanding and cooperation between the two countries.

Shaikh Mohammed’s four-day visit (23-26 March) is part of the Middle East Eminent Persons Programme (MEEPP), jointly organized by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).  Launched in 2007, the programme aims to promote personal and institutional linkages between leading Middle East and Singapore personalities in government and the private sector through the exchange of views on areas of mutual interest.

Bahrain and Singapore have a longstanding, close diplomatic relationship and strong economic and trade connections.  Singapore’s CapitaLand became the first Singaporean mega-company to invest in the Middle East when it joined with Bahrain-based investment bank Arcapita – which itself has a regional headquarters in Singapore – for the Bahrain Bay project.  In October 2008, when Shaikh Mohammed last visited Singapore as part of a delegation led by His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the EDB, the countries’ Stock Exchanges entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore opportunities for collaboration to benefit their financial services industries. 

Ahead of the visit, Shaikh Mohammed heralded the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in December 2008 between Singapore and the GCC as a springboard for new business opportunities between the two nations, saying the agreement will help facilitate and promote an even greater flow of goods, services and investment between the countries and strategically link the Gulf region with Singapore. Shaikh Mohammed also commented on the economic values and advantages that the two island countries share.

“There are obvious synergies between Bahrain and Singapore; both are advanced logistics hubs , serving as strategic gateways to the Gulf and Asia regions respectively, are well established and respected financial centers, have invested in developing a well-educated national workforce, and have each signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.  Given these similarities it is no surprise that the current state of economic and trade relations are strong, and I anticipate that the meetings held during this visit will help underpin and build upon them.”

During this visit Shaikh Mohammed will meet with:
• Mah Bow Tan, National Development Minister
• Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry
• Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
• Mr. Manohar Khiatani, Deputy Managing Director of Singapore’s EDB

He will also attend a dialogue session with the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).  In October 2008, the SBF launched a joint initiative with Bahrain anticipating assisting approximately 400 Singapore businesses to set-up in the Middle East.

Shaikh Mohammed is the 11th distinguished person to have been invited to Singapore as part of the MEEPP.  Those nominated are considered to have contributed extensively to the development of their own country.


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