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Financial services help Bahrain to record $1.7bn in investments

Bahrain investments Manama skyline Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
Bahrain's financial services sector received the highest level of foreign investments last year
  • 55% rise on 2022
  • 5,700 jobs to be created
  • Trade deficit trebles

Bahrain attracted more than $1.7 billion in investments last year through its government-backed investment company. The financial services sector was the main driver.

The figure, released by the Bahrain Economic Development Board, was 55 percent up on 2022.

The investments covered 85 local and international projects, which are forecast to create 5,700 jobs in Bahrain over the next three years.

Foreign direct investment “remains a strong contributor to Bahrain’s continued success story as an agile, steadily growing, and diversified economy”, Khalid Humaidan, governor of Bahrain’s Central Bank, said.

The financial services sector received the highest level of investments, overtaking oil and gas as the largest contributor to Bahrain’s economy, at 17.5 percent of real GDP. 

It was followed by the contributions from the information and communication technology sector, the manufacturing sector and logistics.

Bahrain’s foreign direct investment stock relative to GDP is well above the global average rate, at around 82 percent, Humaidan said.

The country’s trade deficit more than trebled in the fourth quarter of last year after a drop in exports and re-exports from the kingdom.

Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s minister of finance, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, revealed that the country’s non-oil economy grew by 4.5 percent in the third quarter of last year, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

Government debt in Bahrain, a relatively small oil producer compared with its Gulf neighbours, rose to $40.4 billion in December 2023, up 3.7 percent from $38.9 billion in the previous month. 

In January, the kingdom raised $2 billion from global debt markets.

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