OBG Event

04 Oct 2010

Kingdom eyes further investment as economic expansion shifts up a gear

Bahrain’s bid to carve out a niche for itself as a global Islamic banking hub is mapped out in a wide-ranging report just published by Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Bahrain 2010 provides comprehensive coverage of the Kingdom’s developing role as a leader in Sharia-compliant financial products and services which is proving to be pivotal in its economic expansion.

Its coverage includes a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, together with a wide range of interviews with the Kingdom’s most prominent political, economic and business leaders, including HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa Crown Prince of Bahrain, Minister of Finance Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj and Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs, Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority and Chairman of the Bahrain Petroleum Company Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza.

As the Kingdom looks to fend off competition to retain its place as the traditional financial centre in the Gulf, OBG’s new publication also explores the steps which local banks are taking to roll out Islamic services, prompted by growing interest among customers.

The global publishing, research and consultancy firm’s report includes a wide-ranging round table featuring the views of four high-profile leaders from Islamic banking. Majid Al Refai, MD and CEO of Unicorn Investment Bank; Mohamed AR Hussain, CEO of Ithmaar Bank; Mohammed Ebrahim CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank and Nabil Mohammed Hadi, CEO of Capivest discuss the rise in popularity of sharia-compliant products and services while analysing the impact that growth in the segment is having on the banking sector overall.   

High profile international personalities, such as Director-General of the WTO Pascal Lamy,
President of Switzerland Doris Leuthard and Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada also give their views on Bahrain’s economic development.

With figures indicating that growth in Bahrain’s tourism sector is accelerating, OBG’s new report puts the government’s plan to develop the industry under the microscope. It looks in detail at the country plans to continue building its successful business traveller segment while also tapping growing markets such as leisure, culture and health tourism.

As the Kingdom continues to reduce its dependency on hydrocarbons, The Report: Bahrain 2010 maps out the country’s plans for the energy sector, which include upgrading refining capacity and expanding the use of enhanced oil recovery techniques. The report also weighs up the next step in offshore exploration and production following the completion of tenders last year.

OBG’s new report provides a detailed insight into Bahrain’s growing telecoms sector, which is one of a number of industries capturing the interest of international investors. With a third mobile operator expected to enter the market within the next few months, The Report: Bahrain 2010 looks at how increased competition is likely to shape the industry and benefit customers.

The Report: Bahrain 2010 has been produced in partnership with the Economic Development Board (EDB). Contributions have also been made by SICO Investment Bank as OBG’s capital markets partner, BDO Bahrain as its accountancy partner and Qays H. Zu’bi as legal partner.

Oliver Cornock, Regional Editor, Oxford Business Group, said that Bahrain’s ongoing success in attracting investors to the Kingdom despite the challenging economic climate was reaping rewards across the sectors.

“Bahrain’s transparent, business-friendly environment, which has long helped give the Kingdom an edge with investors, is being enhanced by the government’s decision to make industrial expansion a key component as it diversifies the economy,” he said. “I am confident that the steps being taken, which include increasing land for industrial development, creating special investment clusters and the signing of further free trade agreements, will generate additional interest among the investment community and help Bahrain to achieve the goals set out in its long-term development plan.”

Cornock also acknowledged the important contribution that OBG’s partners had made to The Report: Bahrain 2010, saying that their input had undoubtedly added a dimension to the publication. “Oxford Business Group places great value on the in-depth knowledge and experience that our partners have of the local market,” he said. “By collaborating with leading, local players, who are experts in their fields, we have been able to raise the bar once again with the standard of business intelligence we are offering the international business community in our new report.”

The Report: Bahrain 2010 marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG, assessing trends and developments in all major sectors of the economy, including energy, industry, finance, banking, tourism, transport and real estate. It will be available in print form and online.