Bahrain Opens First FDI Promotion Office in Singapore Expanding Global Footprint into ASEAN

The move follows record investments attracted by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) for the first nine months of 2023, with a projected volume of USD 1.4 billion in direct investments. • Bahrain EDB has inaugurated its first ASEAN office in Singapore to guide businesses looking to set up or expand abroad, promoting Bahrain as the ideal destination for investment. • Home to a highly skilled bilingual talent pool Bahrain’s strategic location provides facilitated access to tap into the USD 4.3 trillion Middle East & North Africa (MENA) market. • Senior executives from Bahrain EDB attend the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023 alongside key representatives from Bahrain’s public and private sectors, including the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Bahrain EDB has officially launched its Singapore office, the first in ASEAN, adding to the investment promotion agency’s strategic network of international representatives around the globe. The office will fast-track the investment journey of Singaporean businesses looking to tap into the USD 4.3 trillion Middle East & North Africa market, by providing curated market intelligence, guidance and connecting them with the relevant decision makers throughout each step of their operational set up process.

The new Singapore office was announced ahead of the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023, which will be attended by high level representatives from the Bahrain EDB, led by its Chief Executive, Khalid Humaidan, alongside other senior officials from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), and Bahrain Fintech Bay. Additionally, among the leading international and local businesses operating in Bahrain, the business delegates also included representatives from the Singapore city state’s prominent family office “Whampoa Group”, who selected Bahrain to set up their new digital bank.

“We are delighted to establish a foothold in Singapore; in addition to the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2013, this move is a giant leap for furthering our partnerships with Asian businesses which stand to benefit from Bahrain’s innovative investment climate and progressive regulatory framework,” said Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director of Business Development for Financial Services at Bahrain Economic Development Board.

“Singapore and Bahrain share many similarities, both being agile nations with flexible regulatory environments that are notably open-minded and progressive to foster digital innovation across sectors, and in the financial services market in particular,” she added.

A testament to foreign investor confidence in Bahrain’s value proposition, a projected value of USD 1.4 billion in direct investments was attracted by Bahrain EDB in the first nine months of 2023. This was achieved with the support of the signature “Team Bahrain” approach, wherein Bahrain’s public and private sectors collaborate in curating bespoke solutions for businesses seeking to establish their operations in Bahrain.

As the first Gulf nation to diversify its economy, Bahrain has continued to successfully to grow its economy. Bahrain’s digitally empowered financial services sector, which as of 2022 is the top contributor to real GDP, stands at 17.5%, comprising a balanced portfolio of leading international traditional banking and financial institutions alongside fintechs and new digital asset players, including crypto assets and liquidity providers.

Strategically located in the heart of the Arabic Gulf, the business-friendly island nation known for its openness, tolerance, and cultural diversity, is home to a highly skilled talent pool, which is continually reskilled and upskilled, backed by government grants and subsidised wages to ensure the local

workforce meets future market needs and effectively bridge the global skills gap. A surge of leading international and regional companies in the likes of Citi and PwC among others, choose Bahrain to set up their tech hubs and service centres to serve global clients.

Bahrain benefits from a forward-thinking government, pioneering legislation, and pro-innovation regulatory frameworks. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), its single regulator, drives the evolution of Bahrain’s financial services sector with a dedicated Fintech Innovation Unit, as well as the Gulf’s first onshore regulatory sandbox, allowing local and international digital players to test new fintech solutions in a virtual, partially deregulated environment ensuring market readiness and overall compliance.

Investors seeking information about Bahrain as a talent and investment destination can visit Bahrain EDB's booth at Stand 5J23, Hall Five, during the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023, from the 15-17 November