A delegation from Germany led by Dr. Gerhard Schroder, the country’s former Chancellor, is in Bahrain this week to learn more about doing business in and from a country that is becoming increasingly recognised as the gateway to the trillion dollar Gulf.
The visit of members from the ‘German Near and Middle East Association’ has been organised by Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC).
H.E. Dr. Hassan Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce commented: “We welcome the esteemed German delegation to Bahrain. Germany and Bahrain have a long history of strong commercial relations and this visit allows German businesses to view first hand the business friendly environment of Bahrain. These visits provide a unique opportunity for establishing, and fostering, close personal and working relationships.”
The delegation were welcomed to the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre for the event. Other speakers to join H.E. Dr Hassan Fakhro, included H.E. Rasheed Al-Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), and Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (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.
Kamal Ahmed said: “Bahrain and Germany enjoy strong commercial and economic relations which have ties dating back to the 18th Century and we anticipate building upon these in the future. Germany is renowned for its advanced industry and Bahrain for its attractive and liberal business environment from which international companies – including those from Germany – can best access the trillion dollarGulf market and wider Middle East.”
A number of leading German companies including Allianz Takaful and ICT leaders Siemens and Software AG have already located in Bahrain, which has made a commitment to building the optimum business environment for international companies. The Kingdom sees this as essential to achieving the ambitions of its Vision 2030, designed to drive the private sector as an engine of growth, support further diversification of the economy and ultimately elevate national living standards by creating greater opportunities for Bahrainis. The process is being led by the EDB.
Kamal Ahmed added: “In Bahrain, our plan has always been about building sustainable growth through a sound and flexible economic and fiscal policy, a highly skilled and educated national workforce, diversified economy, rule of law and well-run, transparent regulation which has been proven over time. In today’s re-set world, these same measures provide the optimum business environment for international companies to do business both in and from.”
A number of independent international indices have found Bahrain’s tried and tested regulatory environment conducive to the operation of business. Forbes ranked Bahrain the best in the Gulf and 33rd of 127 global economies in its Best Centres for Business 2009 report; the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2010” report ranked the Kingdom 20th best country in the world for the ease of doing business; and the 2010 Heritage Foundation / Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom ranks Bahrain the freest economy in the Middle East and 13th in the world.
Bahrain and Germany share a number of agreements including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on trade and industrial cooperation signed in April 2006 and an agreement to encourage and protect bilateral investments signed in February 2007. Last year, Bahrain led delegations to Germany to promote its logistics credentials – including the new Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) and Bahrain Logistics Zone (BLZ), and the expansion of BahrainInternationalAirport – and the Kingdom’s potential as a regional base for German manufacturing companies.
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