The region’s economic transformation and investment opportunities will be the highlight of the first Gateway Gulf in Bahrain this week under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
The event, which will take place from 8 to 10 May at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bahrain Bay, brings together over 500 global investors and business leaders to explore ways of unlocking the opportunities being created by the economic transformation in the GCC. The event provides a direct route into accessing the GCC market by showcasing major regional investment-ready projects worth USD $18billion, with projects in the planning phase driving up the value of the project pipeline to USD $26 billion. The event also offers an opportunity to match funding with large-scale infrastructure projects in Bahrain.
Bahrain is also fast-tracking substantial public and private sector investment projects worth over USD $32 billion across the manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and tourism sectors, supporting the Kingdom’s goal of long-term, sustainable economic growth.
Ahead of the event, His Excellency Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board, commented: “A key part of our role at the EDB is to talk to international investors and we have found that they are very excited about the potential to enter and expand in the Gulf market. However, they would like to know more about how to unlock those opportunities – which is why we have created Gateway Gulf.”
The event will include high-level plenary sessions led by key business leaders across strategic growth sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, real estate, power, water and energy, and will address some of the key business issues currently facing the region as it opens up new investment opportunities to the private sector.
“Bahrain was the fastest growing economy in the GCC in 2017, a trend the IMF expects to continue into 2018. This strong growth momentum, paired with the Kingdom’s strategic location, supportive and cost-effective business environment and talented workforce, offers international companies a powerful launch pad to access growth across the region,” H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi added.
Highlights of the event include a panel session titled ‘Aligning Fiscal Policy with Economic Growth’, which will discuss ways in which policymakers can meet the challenges of achieving economic growth and creating a sound fiscal policy. The session will feature H.E. Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance, Bahrain; H.E. Dr. Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, Minister of Finance, Kuwait; H.E. Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance, Morocco; H.E. Faisal bin Fadhil Alibrahim, Vice Minister of Economy & Planning, Saudi Arabia; and Michèle Lamarche, Lazard Frères.
Another panel session titled ‘Unlocking the FDI Puzzle’ will include speakers such as Stuart Jones, Bechtel; Anil Kumar, Ransat Group; Fadi Ghandour, Wamda Group & Aramex; Yusuf Ali, Lulu Group; Shaikh Dr. Meshaal bin Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, KDIPA; and H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, who will discuss efforts the GCC countries should undertake to enable investors to tap into the opportunities the region presents.
Other sessions at Gateway Gulf will shed light on Cloud Computing, FinTech, Blockchain, and Oil and Gas with a list of high-profile speakers including H.E. Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment, Saudi Arabia; H.E. Khaled Nasser Abdullah Al-Roudan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kuwait; H.E. Zayed Al Zayani, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Bahrain; Jassim Alseddiqi, Abu Dhabi Financial Group; Mohammed Alshaya, Alshaya Group; Eng. Ibrahim AlOmar, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA); and Klaus Kleinfeld, NEOM.