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Published August 15th, 2006 - 06:22 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

The Economic Development Board (EDB) of Bahrain and Ithmaar Bank, a prominent Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, announced today 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.”

About Economic Development Board

The Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic Government agency with an overall responsibility for formulating and overseeing the economic development strategy of Bahrain, and for creating the right climate to attract direct investment into the Kingdom.

The role of the EDB is to provide leadership by uniting all of the Kingdom's shareholders through a unified vision, and to develop key strategies for growth. The EDB also acts as a facilitator, helping all of Bahrain's stakeholders to understand and adopt the changes necessary for progress. In addition, the EDB provides sound project management to ensure that all agreed reform initiatives are implemented in an effective and timely manner.
The EDB is also responsible for attracting inward investment into Bahrain, and is focusing on six target economic sectors in which the Kingdom offers significant strengths. These are financial services, downstream industries, tourism, business services, logistics and health, education and training.

More information on the EDB is available on EDB’s website on

About Ithmaar Bank

Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. was incorporated in Bahrain in 1984 as Faysal Investment Bank of Bahrain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shamil Bank of Bahrain. The Bank’s name was changed to Ithmaar Bank in 2003, following the sale of Shamil Bank’s shareholding to Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust (DMI).

Ithmaar Bank, which has a paid-up capital of US$360 million, is a full service Islamic investment bank with operations spanning the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as Asia and Europe. Besides holding significant investments in the banking and financial services sector in different markets, the main activities of the Bank include underwriting business (equity and debt), private equity (structuring, participation and portfolio management), project financing, and advisory business (capital market, merger & acquisitions and project advisory).

Ithmaar Bank’s flagship companies include Solidarity, an Islamic insurance company based in Bahrain; Faisal Finance (Switzerland) and Faysal Bank Limited (Pakistan).

The Bank’s shares are listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange. For more information on Ithmaar Bank, please visit the Bank’s website on

About World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and Industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. The Forum is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Government.


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