Bahrain to diversify its economy via cloud computing
Bahrain– According to a representative of the Economic Development Board, Bahrain is in advanced negotiations for investment deals with cloud computing firms from the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
The main pillars of Bahrain’s economic recovery program, which comprises $30 billion in strategic projects and aims to increase non-oil gross domestic product by 5% this year, are cloud computing and foreign direct investment.
The ambitions come as regional economic hegemons like Saudi Arabia and the UAE bet on technology to diversify their economies away from their reliance on oil. Saudi Aramco’s subsidiary, Saudi Aramco Development Co, has partnered with Google Cloud to provide cloud services to Saudi Arabian consumers. This year, three Amazon Web Services (AWS) facilities are opening in the UAE.
The first in the Middle East, Bahrain has hosted a sizable AWS center since 2018. Bahrain has also passed the region’s first “data embassy law.” According to Ali AlMudaifa, chief investment officer of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, it permits nations to retain data locally but under their control.
A sugar refinery, a management consulting firm, and UK insurance companies are all in discussion with EDB about opening up shop in the tiny kingdom. Additionally, it is negotiating FDI agreements with Israel, which are planned to be revealed “soon,” according to him.
By 2024, Bahrain hopes to attain budgetary balance—a goal that has been delayed by the pandemic by two years. The $10 billion rescue package from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in 2018 helped it avoid a credit constraint, and it is linked to the medium-term budget plan.
AlMudaifa declared that they were ready to bid for major projects. “We believe that our value proposition can stand on its own two feet, and we are also exploring for potential for cross-border synergy.”
We have a highly varied pipeline and really strong momentum, he added. Plans for the tourist, logistics, industrial, telecom, and oil and gas industries are part of the recovery package.
After bringing in $893 million in 2021 and creating 4,861 jobs, EDB alone hopes to bring in $1 billion in FDI and generate about 4,500 jobs this year.
According to AlMudaifa, about half of Bahrain’s total FDI stock comes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. He also predicted that Bahrain’s share of Gulf FDI will continue to expand. The influential Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has said that it will invest $5 billion in Bahrain.
Many of these significant strategic development projects will eventually, incrementally, and gradually be available for private sector investment, according to AlMudaifa.