A strong initiative is well underway to foster economic growth and strengthen bilateral relations between Bahrain and Malaysia.
The collaboration between the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Kuala Lumpur and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) comes as part of a series of targeted initiatives that seek to further profile Bahrain’s value-adding investment landscape, which is well-poised to attract both local and international investors owing to a robust investment value-proposition.
In a luncheon held to commemorate this initiative recently, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Kuala Lumpur, Rashad Alshaikh, welcomed esteemed guests from key Malaysian trade and investment entities across several provinces.
Among the notable attendees at the luncheon were Michael Chai, Secretary General of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM); Dato’ Dr. Fouad Hayel Saeed, Managing Director of Pacific Inter-Link Sdn Bhd (PIL Group); Dato’ Andrew Goh Boon Kim, Exco Member of NCCIM; Shaun Edward Cheah, Executive Director of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce (MICCI); Lee Koh Yung, Chairman of the Domestic Commercial Affairs Committee in the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce; Professor Hashim Saleh, President of the Kuala Lumpur International Chamber of Commerce (KLICC); Sriram Iyer, GM& COO of Pacific Inter-Link Sdn Bhd (PIL Group);and Hambali Mukhlas, Chairman of the International Business Committee of NCCIM.
During the luncheon, Rashad highlighted the prosperous economic and trade relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Malaysia in recent years. He cited the development growth in non-oil trade, which reached USD 251.4 million in 2022.
Bahrain’s total imports amounted to USD 88 million, with Bahrain’s total exports reaching USD 163.4 million.
“Malaysia is considered the 27th largest import market and the 20th largest export market for Bahrain,” stated Rashad, adding: “The two countries are determined to expand trade across a wide range of sectors, including energy, Islamic finance, infrastructure, and halal commodities. Bahrain sees Malaysia as a strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia’s market, with 676 million citizens, offering commercial opportunities for companies to expand their regional and global supply chains and operations.”
Looking ahead to 2024, Rashad expressed anticipation for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Malaysia. He emphasised that this milestone presents an opportunity to enhance the relations between the two countries and strengthen cooperation in the fields of economics, culture, science, education, and tourism.
On the sidelines of the luncheon, Aurelio Castilla, Senior Executive of International Offices, at Bahrain EDB presented a webinar titled “Invest in Bahrain”, where he shed light on the unique value proposition of Bahrain, highlighting key differentials that solidify its standing as the ideal destination for investment.
The webinar focused on the high-yielding opportunities for profit available for businesses, where Bahrain is home to a favourable tax climate with 0% corporate tax, 100% foreign ownership in most sectors with no free zone restrictions, and competitive operating costs; backed by insight from a workforce that combines highly skilled, bi-lingual, driven Bahraini nationals alongside a diverse expat talent pool offering a global perspective.
The ‘Invest in Bahrain’ webinar additionally highlighted the success of the ‘Team Bahrain’ approach, which celebrates government bodies working closely together, in step with the private sector and in dialogue with business, to create an innovative environment that breeds local success stories with global impact by connecting investors to decision makers that matter.
Bahrain has demonstrated success in further diversifying its economy away from oil in line with the diversification efforts set under the Economic Recovery Plan (2021), which reprioritised the economy with a focus on the following sectors: Financial Services, Manufacturing, Logistics, ICT and Tourism. As of 2022, Bahrain’s financial services contribution stands at 17.5%, with oil & gas representing 16.9%, and manufacturing 14%.
The Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) is an investment promotion agency with the overall responsibility of attracting investment into the Kingdom and supporting initiatives that enhance the investment climate. EDB works with the government and both current and prospective investors, to ensure that Bahrain’s investment climate is attractive, to communicate the key strengths, and to identify where opportunities exist for further economic growth through investment.
The Bahrain EDB focuses on several economic sectors that capitalise on Bahrain’s competitive advantages and provide significant investment opportunities. These sectors include financial services, manufacturing, logistics, ICT, and tourism.