Bahrain has recently launched a distinctive initiative known as the ‘golden licence’ program. It aims to draw substantial investments and stimulate economic growth. This pioneering approach has already granted licenses to five prominent entities, potentially to support projects exceeding $1.4 billion in Bahrain.
The first five entities include Citi, real estate firm Eagle Hills, Infracorp, Saudi Telecommunication Company, and Singaporean investment group Whampoa. While specific details aren’t public, it is evident this initiative will bring a unique perspective to investment attraction.
Moreover, to qualify for a golden license, projects must meet certain criteria. Those criteria include a minimum investment of $50m or the creation of employment opportunities for 500 or more individuals. Also, these projects should align with Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan. That constitutes six key sectors: oil and gas, financial services, information and communication technology (ICT), manufacturing, logistics, and tourism.
One of the primary benefits of a golden license is the support of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). License holders receive personalized assistance, including the oversight of their projects by a dedicated relationship manager. Furthermore, the government expedites various processes to ensure the success of these projects. This includes fast-tracking access to utilities, land and resource allocation, introductions to key stakeholders, and priority support from the labor fund to expedite the recruitment, training, and upskilling of Bahraini workers.
The government has prioritized golden license projects, with active engagement and support from all relevant government departments. Key projects include Citi’s Technology Hub, Eagle Hills Diyar’s Marassi Al Bahrain Residential Development, Infracorp’s Twiggy Beach Club & Residence Development, STC’s Data Centre Campus and Cable System, and Whampoa Group’s Singapore Gulf Bank Digital Banking Establishment in Bahrain.
Looking ahead, Bahrain intends to issue up to 10 golden licenses annually, contingent upon the level of demand. There has been significant interest from both local and international investors. These licenses also offer flexibility in adapting laws and regulations to facilitate investments, as exemplified by the passage of data jurisdiction laws to attract Amazon Web Services to invest in Bahrain.
It’s important to note that the ‘golden license’ program differentiates itself from the ‘golden visa’ program. While golden visas typically target individuals with specialized expertise, golden licenses are for investments and focus on projects that promise substantial economic benefits to Bahrain. These complementary initiatives could foster economic development in the country.
Bahrain’s ‘golden license’ program represents a forward-thinking approach to attracting significant investments, promoting economic growth, and collaborating with key players across various sectors. As the program continues to gain momentum, it will play a pivotal role in Bahrain’s economic development and enhance its global competitiveness.
Source: fDi Diaries
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