The event, which was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness, highlighted the integral role of the Bahrain Bourse in furthering the development of the Kingdom’s economy, now internationally recognized as the most liberal business environment in the Middle East.
Speaking at the ceremony, Edward S. Knight, the Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Nasdaq OMX highlighted Bahrain’s status as a pioneer in building a service-based economy.
Mr. Knight added that with the lowest inflation rates in the region and unemployment below five per cent, Bahrain’s economy is well positioned to lead the region to its next stage of growth. He particularly highlighted the Government’s focus on improving the lives of Bahrain’s citizens, emphasizing that the people of Bahrain are at the core of the Kingdom’s process of development.
During the event, His Royal Highness conducted a tour of an exhibition depicting the evolution of the Bahrain Bourse over the past 25 years. A short film demonstrating the legacy of the Bahrain Bourse and the Kingdom’s stock market was also presented which highlighted Bahrain’s transformation into a hub for regional trade, becoming the natural gateway to the Gulf’s 1.6 trillion dollar market.
Shaikh Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, CEO of the Bahrain Bourse, emphasized that the Bourse continues to collaborate with international partners to expand its international presence. He added that the Kingdom’s well established, trusted and transparent legal and regulatory environment has enabled the Bahrain Bourse to continue to explore new financial products possibilities. Shaikh Khalifa noted that this has bolstered the Kingdom’s status internationally as a hub for financial services and Islamic finance.
Shaikh Khalifa further highlighted the importance of economic and trade relations with GCC countries, particularly the strong integration among GCC members which has led to several MOUs and trade agreements facilitating significant trade transactions across the region.
During the event, it was confirmed that the legal structure for a new trading platform, Bahrain Investment Market, had been completed. The platform is designed to attract a broad range of local companies and other beneficiaries seeking funding opportunities in the Kingdom.
It was also announced that in recognition of the integral role of the Kingdom’s real estate sector in enhancing Bahrain’s economy, the Bahrain Bourse will launch a trading depository in November next year which will act as a real estate investment trust (REIT).
The ceremony concluded with thanks to His Royal Highness for his support and commitment to Bahrain’s programme of economic reform and development. Shaikh Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa also presented His Royal Highness with a gift to mark the 25th anniversary.