Bahrain’s investment promotion body pitches for closer economic ties with India; keen to tap fin-tech sector

Manama: Bahrain's investment promotion agency Economic Development Board (EDB) has called for closer economic ties with India, as it looks to shore up the tourism sector and establish itself as a financial as well as fin-tech hub in the GCC region.

“India and Bahrain have a longstanding economic and trade relationship. A large number of Indian businesses have already established operations in Bahrain. Seeking to strengthen and further build economic ties, Bahrain EDB has established international offices in both New Delhi and Mumbai," said EDB managing director Simon Galpin.

"We are looking at regular visits to India in 2019, starting this December," Simon said.

 Bahrain’s investment promotion body pitches for closer economic ties with India; keen to tap fin-tech sector

Representational image.

The gulf country is also looking to attract Indian tech companies in financial sector and offers various incentives to them for setting up business in Bahrain.

It is also working with some Indian states on cooperation and development of the fin-tech sector and is looking to sign some MoUs either in December or next year. The EDB provides assistance to Indian investors interested in setting up business in Bahrain.

“Bahrain provides a competitive environment, a simplified licensing process for foreign corporation, taxation incentives, a welcoming environment and an unlimited access to Gulf and Middle Eastern markets,” said Bahrain EDB.

The gulf country is also aligning its economic policies in order to project itself as cost effective alternative to Dubai and other business-friendly neighbours.

It is also looking to create enabling ecosystem for startups, including viable financing options.

"We are very keen to tap into not only the early stage startups that are coming out of leading Indian cities, but also scale-ups. Bahrain is a great test market for companies which want to diversify outside of India.

“A lot of Indian entrepreneurs are starting business here. What we are making sure is the right funding options for them...We are looking to bring crowd funding that could be the next step for some entrepreneurs," Simon said.

Tourism, on the other hand, was one of the Bahrain's highest potential growth sectors for foreign investors in 2017, constituting around 10 percent of the total investment flows into the country.

“On the tourism side, we have great connectivity, lots of flights to Indian cities. We really wish, we should be getting more tourists coming from India,” Jerad Bachar, executive director of Tourism and Leisure Investment, EDB said.

Today, one-third of Bahrain's total population of 1.3 million is Indians, making them the largest expat community in the country.

"Due to cultural and geographical proximity, the Gulf provides an attractive option to promote Bahrain to India or Indian sub-continent,” Hatim Dadabai, MD, Dadabai Group said.

Hatim, whose family migrated from Rajasthan to the gulf nation in early 1900s, also hailed Bahrain's consistent economic policies for conducive business environment.

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Updated Date: Nov 27, 2018 14:03:56 IST