His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) today chaired a board meeting of the EDB in Riffa.
In his opening remarks, His Royal Highness highlighted that the upcoming substantial development and infrastructure projects, totalling US $22 billion, will help to achieve the Kingdom’s goal of sustainable economic growth. He added that further developing Bahrain’s diverse economy would improve the quality of life for all Bahrainis by creating high-quality employment opportunities and attracting new levels of foreign investment.
His Royal Highness then announced that substantial investment programmes would focus on development projects across the private and public sector, including industrial investment, infrastructure and tourism. He then underlined that increasing competitiveness and identifying investment priorities are necessary for Bahrain’s continued economic development.
During the meeting, His Excellency Kamal bin Ahmed, Chief Executive of the EDB, presented its most significant achievements during the first half of this year, emphasising that the registration of 21 new companies had created more than 950 new jobs. Furthermore, he highlighted the recommendations put forward by several government entities to support Bahrain’s National Development Strategy as well as other key milestones involving EDB’s participation in international investment events to further attract businesses to the Kingdom.
His Excellency Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and Chairman of the committee charged by the EDB with tackling congestion at King Fahd Causeway, subsequently outlined some of the committee’s latest achievements including the current status of traffic flows at the causeway. His Excellency highlighted that work to tackle congestion at the causeway has led to a 73% reduction in waiting times for trucks entering and leaving the Kingdom, and a 90% decrease in the number of vehicles queuing to cross the causeway. He further noted that inspections are being conducted to facilitate an increase in the flow of goods and services to the Kingdom.
Following the presentations, His Royal Highness requested the monitoring of the development programme of Bahrain’s financial sector by a committee under the leadership of the Governor of the Central Bank, His Excellency Rashid Al Miraj. His Royal Highness also called on the committee charged with tackling congestion at King Fahd Causeway to continue exploring effective means to further alleviate congestion and facilitate the swift entry of commuters. Finally, turning to the strategic development programmes, His Royal Highness requested that the EDB establish coordination and collaboration mechanisms with government entities and private institutions to monitor the implementation of substantial development projects, which is vital to raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness and efficiency of its public services.
The role of the EDB
The Bahrain Economic Development Board is a dynamic public agency with overall responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain and supporting initiatives that help enhance the investment climate in the country. The role of the EDB is to work with current and prospective investors ensuring that Bahrain’s investment climate is attractive, identifying its key strengths and where opportunities exist for further economic growth through investment.
The EDB focuses on several economic sectors that capitalise on Bahrain's competitive advantages and provide significant investment opportunities. These sectors include financial services, professional services, manufacturing, ICT, logistics and transport. The financial services sectors is particularly strong in Bahrain, accounting for the largest proportion of GDP, and the EDB works to support the continued growth of the banking industry and key sub-sectors, including Islamic finance, wealth management, asset management, insurance and re-insurance.