We started [with] 29 companies that were government companies. Today, we have 28% of our investment in Europe, 8% in the US and the rest in the region.
What we do is, we work in Bahrain, invest in Bahrain, and we invest for Bahrain. Mumtalakat, since inception, has spent more than BD800m in the Bahrain economy.
Mumtalakat invested BD475m into Gulf Air to upgrade the airline and bring it to its current shape. It's a very stablised airline that is growing carefully into areas that are commercially viable. Aviation started in the region in Bahrain. Gulf Air was a regional carrier. We managed to expand out of that area. Gulf Aviation Academy serves all the regional airlines.
Gulf Air is only really [a] 30%, if not less, utiliser of that Aviation Academy. They have even expanded, having part of their simulators stationed in Europe, serving some European airlines. If you go to any airline in the region, you'll find a graduate of the Gulf Aviation Academy working with them. I'm personally keen in our investment in the education sector. Every year of education adds 10% to the income of the people in their future life. Once you educate people, naturally they go [into] the workforce. Manufacturing is an area we focus on because every job you create in manufacturing, you create 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
In Bahrain, [the] manufacturing sector has grown by 18% in the past five years. Today, it accounts for 20% of our GDP. We have a focus on health care because it touches lots of people, improves the life of people, and it's a big market that’s going to grow. Globally, [the number of] people who are aged above 60 is expected to reach 2bn by 2050, and expenditure of health care is going to reach $10trn by 2020. Bahrain has established itself as a financial hub. We've been investing and developing that sector heavily. Today, we have 395 financial institutions working in Bahrain. And there is still room to grow.
Today there are 2bn people who have no access to banking facilities.
Financial technology will be a big disruptor to the banking sector, and we are very keen [in] investing early because we think the future will be in financial technology. Another area in which we’ve been active and working on is the real estate sector, here in Bahrain and globally, because one out of 10 jobs is created by tourism and real estate. We are a major shareholder in Durrat Al Bahrain, a very unique resort created in the south of the island. Bahrain International Circuit, the biggest attraction in Bahrain. And we have a pipeline of other projects that we are developing. Tourism accounts for 6.3% of Bahrain’s GDP and is growing at more than 10% annually. Investing for Bahrain, you have to look globally. We have acquired, with other investors, the headquarters of Lenovo in the US. The real estate in the US was a very promising investment that we did because we believe that the economy there, the real estate sector, is stable and growing and will give us a very sound financial return on our investment.
We always work in partnership.
We look at companies that have… strong management, strong corporate governance and promise growth. We are very careful in selecting companies that have a good story, solid ground and [we are] really looking forward to use our investment funding to enable the company to grow further to what they are able to do with their own means.
A major role that we play is that we make sure that we select the right boards of these companies. We give them proper training through INSEAD and other institutions. Alba embarked [on] a big expansion programme based on their own financial resources. That’s the sort of corporate governance that we are trying to put in these companies, to think how they can grow within the means that they have, and within the resources available to them. We extend the know-how to them to enable them to grow depending on their own resources. Although we are limited in resources in Bahrain, being a small country, the true worth of Bahrain is its people. We have a very educated Bahraini workforce – very well trained, and very mobile. Whenever we brought an investment to Bahrain, they didn't have to look beyond Bahrain to get their professional people and the technicians to operate their activities.
We have a lot of strength in Bahrain.
I think that we can bank on and really compete very strongly against the region.
We are always focused on growth.
But sustainability is an area that we always focus on as well. And I think our story is we're very optimistic. We are very bullish, and we'll continue to grow and we'll continue to invest in Bahrain, and for Bahrain.