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Bahrain Attracts Record $6.8B in FDI for 2023

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The Kingdom of Bahrain has achieved a historic milestone in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, securing a record-breaking $6.8 billion in 2023. According to the latest World Investment Report (WIR 2024) by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), this figure represents a mammoth 148% increase from the previous year, surpassing the prior record set in 2022. This influx has significantly boosted Bahrain’s cumulative inward FDI stocks from $36.2 billion in 2022 to $43.1 billion in 2023.

Bahrain’s FDI stocks relative to GDP reached an impressive 99.7% by the end of 2023, one of the highest ratios globally and well above the world average of 46.9%. The Information & eGovernment Authority of Bahrain reports that the leading contributors to Bahrain’s FDI portfolio include Kuwait (36%), Saudi Arabia (23%), and the United Arab Emirates (10%).

Noor bint Ali Alkhulaif, Minister of Sustainable Development and Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), highlighted the significance of this achievement, stating, “The milestone FDI inflows in 2023 reflect Bahrain’s strong value proposition and its reputation as a trusted destination for regional and global investors seeking best value operating costs in a strategic location that serves as an ideal gateway to the region and beyond.”

Bahrain has firmly established itself as an attractive hub for investments, prioritizing the development of forward-looking regulatory frameworks and strategic economic plans to foster growth and diversification. The Kingdom’s nominal GDP surged from approximately $11 billion in 2003 to over $43 billion in 2023, averaging an annual growth rate of 7%, surpassing the global average of 5%. The economy has also diversified significantly, with the financial services sector surpassing the oil sector as the highest contributor to real GDP, standing at 17.8% in 2023.

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Minister Alkhulaif added, “With an agile government, a highly skilled bilingual talent pool, and a financially liberal environment, Bahrain has proven itself as a leading investment destination. At Bahrain EDB, we continue to strategically attract increased investments from priority markets, supported by Team Bahrain, to sustain economic growth and diversification.”

A pivotal initiative in this success has been the Golden License, launched in April 2023. Attracting $2.4 billion in investments from nine major projects and generating 3,000 job opportunities, the Golden License has significantly bolstered regional and international investments. Notable projects awarded the Golden License in 2024 include Bahrain Titanium by Interlink Metals & Chemicals, the first greenfield head office of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) outside of Kuwait, a data center facility and international submarine cable by Beyon, and the development of Bahrain Marina.

Bahrain’s record-breaking FDI inflows in 2023 underscore its strategic vision and commitment to creating a vibrant, diversified economy that remains a prime destination for global investors.

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