TOKYO: Diversification was essential to the future of Bahrain’s economy, the country’s industry and commerce minister said during a trip to Japan.
Abdullah Adel Fakhro was speaking during his visit to the east Asian nation to explore new business opportunities between the two countries.
He told Arab News Japan: “Bahrain’s economy cannot survive (as a single property economy). We have been seeking to become diversified. This includes the financial services sector, which for the first time has exceeded the oil sector in the GDP (gross domestic product).
“The purpose of this visit is to really grow our presence in the non-oil parts of our economy, specifically industry and the ICT (information and communications technology) sector, as well as other industries such as medicine, aluminium, and petrochemicals, and food security and tourism.
“Today, the economy has become highly diversified. In the past, 40 percent of Bahrain’s GDP was from the oil sector, whereas today it makes up almost 20 percent.
“So, we are well on our way toward diversifying into an economy that is not dependent upon the price of oil,” he said.
Fakhro arrived in Japan with a 30-strong delegation that included representatives from the private and public sectors. Six different government entities were represented along with 18 business representatives that included top executives of Bahraini companies.
“The trip has been extremely successful. From the B2B (business-to-business) side, our delegation has met with several multinational Japanese companies, and we have had very fruitful discussions.
“The purpose of the visit is to strengthen our bilateral ties with Japan on all fronts, from the economic to the diplomatic to cultural ties as well as education.
“There are a lot of opportunities for collaboration between both our countries, a lot of opportunities for investment, and we look forward to strengthening these ties.
“It was also announced that there will be a joint committee that will continue the dialogue concerning the areas and opportunities the two sides can collaborate on. So, all in all it has been an incredibly successful trip, and we hope that we will continue to grow this relationship,” the minister added.
Ties between Japan and Bahrain go back nearly 100 years after oil was discovered and Japan became the first customer for Bahraini oil.
Fakhro said: “We are very proud of this historic relation and since that time this relationship has only grown stronger.”
He pointed out that, in addition to diplomacy, relations covered educational, cultural, and economic areas.