Bahrain Draws Record FDI Inflow in 2023

General view of capital Manama, Bahrain, October 30, 2022. (Reuters)
General view of capital Manama, Bahrain, October 30, 2022. (Reuters)
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Bahrain Draws Record FDI Inflow in 2023

General view of capital Manama, Bahrain, October 30, 2022. (Reuters)
General view of capital Manama, Bahrain, October 30, 2022. (Reuters)

Bahrain saw a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) to a record $6.8 billion in 2023, up 148% from the previous year's figures, according to the latest World Investment Report (WIR 2024) by the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

This boost contributed to Bahrain’s FDI reaching $43.1 billion, up from $36.2 billion in 2022.

Marking one of the highest ratios in the world, Bahrain’s FDI stocks relative to GDP stood at 99.7% as of the end of 2023, a figure significantly higher than the global average of 46.9%.

According to Bahrain’s Information & eGovernment Authority, the top countries contributing to Bahrain’s FDI stocks as part of a diverse portfolio include Kuwait (36%), Saudi Arabia (23%) and the UAE (10%).

Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), said: “The milestone FDI inflows attracted in 2023 reflects the strength of Bahrain’s value proposition and continued standing as a trusted destination of choice for regional and global investors seeking best value operating costs in a strategic location that serves as an ideal gateway to the region and beyond.”

Bahrain continues to cement its reputation as an attractive hub for investments, where the government continues to prioritize the ongoing development of forward-looking regulatory frameworks alongside the implementation of strategic economic plans to encourage economic growth and diversification, said an EDB statement.

Bahrain’s nominal GDP increased from around $11 billion in 2003 to over $43 billion in 2023, marking an average annual growth of 7%, surpassing the global average of 5%.

In addition to securing healthy economic growth, Bahrain’s economy also diversified, the financial services sector overtook the oil sector as the highest contributor to real GDP, standing at 17.8% in 2023, marking a milestone achievement.

Alkhulaif added: “Backed by an agile government, highly skilled bi-lingual talent pool, and financially liberal environment, Bahrain has proven itself as a leading investment destination enabling leading companies to benefit from a business-friendly environment.”

“At Bahrain EDB, we continue to tactically work towards attracting increased investments from priority markets, supported by Team Bahrain, in the interest of sustaining economic growth and diversification.”

Attracting a total of $2.4 billion in investments from nine major projects and set to generate 3,000 job opportunities, the Golden License has been a pivotal initiative launched in Bahrain in April 2023, which has successfully encouraged increased regional and international investments.



UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's government borrowed a lot more than forecast in June, according to official data published on Friday that highlighted the big budget challenges facing the new government of Prime Minister Keir Starmer.
Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, was a larger-than-expected 14.5 billion pounds ($18.75 billion) last month. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to an increase of 11.5 billion pounds.
Dennis Tatarkov, Senior Economist at KPMG UK, said the data showed "the daunting task" for the new government to fund its agenda without worsening the public finances.
"A combination of high levels of spending and weak growth prospects will present uncomfortable choices – deciding between even more borrowing or substantially raising taxes if spending levels are to be maintained," he said.
New finance minister Rachel Reeves is likely to announce her first budget after parliament's summer recess. She and Starmer have ruled out increases in the rates of income tax, corporation tax and value-added tax, leaving her little room for maneuver to improve public services and boost investment.
Reeves has ordered an immediate review of the new government's "spending inheritance", a move that lawmakers from the opposition Conservative Party say could presage increases in taxes on capital gains or inheritances.
"Today's figures are a clear reminder that this government has inherited the worst economic circumstances since the Second World War, but we’re wasting no time to fix it," Darren Jones, a deputy Treasury minister, said after the data was published.
Starmer's government says it will speed up Britain's slow-moving economy - and generate more tax revenues - via a combination of pro-growth reforms and a return to political stability that will attract investment.
The borrowing figure for June was 2.9 billion pounds higher than expected by Britain's budget watchdog whose forecasts underpin government tax and spending plans.
In the first three months of the financial year which began in April, borrowing was 3.2 billion pounds higher than projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility at 49.8 billion pounds.
The Office for National Statistics said June's borrowing was the lowest for the month since 2019, helped by a big drop in spending on interest paid on bonds linked to inflation which has slowed sharply.
But the deficit was made bigger by a 1.2 billion-pound fall in social security contributions compared with June 2023. They were cut by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the July 4 election that swept Starmer's Labour Party to power.