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Golden licences bring $2bn into Bahrain

Bahrain musicians golden licence Pixabay
Drumming up business: the urban waterfront development Bahrain Marina is one of the schemes benefitting from the country's golden licence scheme
  • 3,000 new jobs generated
  • Nine major projects
  • Titanium plant among deals

A total of $2.4 billion in investment in nine major projects has flowed into Bahrain after the introduction of its golden licence initiative last year.

The projects, which could generate 3,000 jobs, include the setting up of Bahrain Titanium by Interlink Metals & Chemicals of Switzerland and the urban waterfront development Bahrain Marina.

“Bahrain has proven itself as a trusted destination for local and global companies to set up or expand their operations owing to its unique value proposition,” said Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

Bahrain’s foreign direct investment stock relative to GDP is well above the global average rate, at 81 percent.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says FDI stock relative to GDP in 2022 varied from as low as 5 percent for Japan to 275 percent for the Netherlands. The average among OECD member countries was 44 percent.

The golden licence is part of an economic recovery plan launched in October 2021 to boost growth and job creation.

Companies with investment and strategic projects that will create more than 500 jobs nationwide, or those with investment value exceeding $50 million, are eligible for the licence.

Bahrain issued the first golden licences last year to five companies that had invested more than $1.4 billion in the country. Citi, Eagle Hills Diyar, Infracorp, Saudi Telecommunication Company and Whampoa Group are expected to generate more than 1,400 jobs by 2026. 

“The golden licence is the latest of several initiatives introduced that reflect a vested commitment to living up to our pledge of being business-friendly, ensuring a seamless journey across every stage of progress, and ultimately acting as partners in building a solid foundation for long-term success,” Alkhulaif said.

Bahrain’s GDP grew from almost $10 billion to $44 billion between 2002 to 2022, equal to an average annual rate of 8 percent, beating the global rate of 5.5 percent. 

Bahrain also diversified its economy with the non-oil sector accounting for nearly 84 percent of GDP in the third quarter of 2023.

The financial services sector overtook oil as the largest contributor to GDP, standing at more than 18 percent.

Khalid Humaidan, governor of Bahrain’s Central Bank, said last month that foreign direct investment was a strong contributor to Bahrain’s continued success story.

Bahrain is also seeing investment from neighbouring GCC countries. A UAE property investment and development company signed a $4 billion deal last month to develop real estate across Bahrain.

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