Gulf Daily News - 3/5/2006
Bahrain's economy is moving in the right direction, an international investment expert said yesterday.
The country attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) worth $1 billion in 2004, said United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Investment Trends Section chief Masataka Fujita.
"Though Bahrain's FDI figures for 2005 are not available, the Kingdom is moving in the right direction and has great potential in attracting more FDI," he told a Press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
"The laws here are adequate to protect foreign investment."
Mr Fujita is in Bahrain to attend a workshop on Understanding and Analyaing FDI Statistics and FDI from West Asia.The three-day event, which opened at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa yesterday, has been organised by the Economic Development Board (EDB) in co-ordination with the UNCTAD.
Mr Fujita said outward FDI from developing countries and related policy issues need particular attention by policy-makers.
"The focus of the workshop is two-fold: to better understand, use and analyse FDI statistics and to learn about the recent phenomenon of FDI from developing countries, in particular from this region."
EDB deputy chief executive officer Dr Zakaria Hejres said the main challenge before the Gulf countries was to improve their investment climate .
"All countries in the region have embarked on reform programmes to ensure lasting improvements in their investment environments," he said.
"These will establish platforms for foreign investors and bring us closer to full integration with the global economy," he added.
Dr Hejres said the aim of the workshop was to raise awareness of the importance of FDI in the region and to improve reporting of it to the governments and the private sector.
"It is only through our reporting of the impact and trends of FDI that we will be able to set correct policies and procedures to increase inflows into our economies," he added.
Dr Hejres's speech was read out by another senior EDB official, Sulaf Zakaria.