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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Oman-Bahrain relationship grows steadily

Trade exchange between two countries crosses $840 million
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MUSCAT: Thanks to the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Omani-Bahraini relationship has now reached its zenith and became a model of fraternal relations between nations.


In addition, the Omani-Bahraini relationship is growing steadily due to the common keenness to foster cooperation to realise the aspirations of the two friendly peoples.


According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of Bahraini citizens living in the Sultanate of Oman reached 893 citizens by the end of September this year. Besides, there were 85 Bahraini students studying in higher education institutions in Oman by 2021. There are 110 Omani nationals working in Bahrain.


The Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain were historically linked by economic relations as the trade caravans and commercial ships loaded with copper and other goods set out from Majan to Dilmun (ancient civilisations that existed in Oman and Bahrain). This relationship evolved throughout history reaching this advanced level we are seeing today. The Oman-Bahrain relationship derives its strength from the common denominators between the two countries, the most important of which are the strategic geographical location, common culture, shared history and traditions.


The relationship between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain is consolidated by the presence of Oman-Bahrain Business Council whose efforts contributed to increasing the volume of trade exchange between the two countries to RO 323.3 million by the end of 2021 from the figure of RO 156.7 million seen in 2017.


The Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain have many economic and tourism enablers that encourage more partnerships as the two countries’ visions Oman Vision 2040 and Bahrain 2030 involve ambitious aspirations towards economic diversification thus opening investment opportunities in the sectors that support these goals.


The two countries are economically linked by shared investment with 876 firms investing in trade, construction, transport and other services. Oman Bahrain Investment holding, currently under foundation, is expected to boost investments in both countries especially in food security as well as the other sectors targeted by Oman Vision 2040 and Bahrain Vision 2030.


Omani business executives interviewed by the newspaper said they aspire to develop trade and investment relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain particularly in key sectors that include the logistics sector, manufacturing, fisheries, mining and tourism all of which have received wide attention.


Oman-Bahrain Friendship Association (OBFA) is the driving force of the relationship between the two brotherly countries. The OBFA undertakes the task of enhancing cooperation and exchange of expertise in various fields and taking the relations to new levels of strength through its social and economic contributions. It is hoped that the OBFA will further contribute to fostering bilateral cooperation on all levels. The association seeks to develop relations in the cultural, social, economic, sports and scientific fields. The OBFA regularly organises social events, seminars, lectures, arts exhibitions, cultural and heritage events with the aim of promoting tourism in both countries.


Eng Ridha bin Juma al Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), said: “His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik is making great and unrelenting efforts to strengthen Oman’s relations with many countries in all political and economic fields. During his visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain, His Majesty the Sultan will discuss with his brother His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, King of the sisterly Kingdom of Bahrain, means of enhancing the political, commercial and economic relations, in addition to strengthening cooperation and investments between the private sectors in the two countries.


"This visit is a good opportunity to discuss ways of boosting trade exchange between the Sultanate of Oman and Bahrain, and raising joint investments. The statistics indicate that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries crossed $840 million by the end of 2021, an increase of more than $300 million from 2020. The volume of capital invested between the two countries and registered in the Sultanate of Oman exceeded RO 566 million by the end of 2020 while the number of Bahraini companies registered in the Sultanate of Oman reached (876) companies," he said.


Mustafa Ahmed Salman, a businessman, said that the Sultanate of Oman is tied by a historic and solid relationship which resulted in a broad economic cooperation in key sectors that contribute to the development of both countries. As a result of these excellent economic relations, the volume of trade exchange between the two countries has grown exponentially. The value of Omani imports from Bahrain during the previous year was approximately RO 278 million while the country’s exports from Bahrain stood at RO 41 million.


Saleh bin Ahmed al Badi, Chairman of Nakheel Al Shamal International, said that the trade relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain are extremely old and have seen a significant development in recent years. The Oman-Bahrain Business Council will be playing a great and active role during the upcoming period to boost investment and trade volume by devising clear plans and strategies that would support the key sectors targeted by Oman Vision 2040 and Bahrain Vision 2030.


Bahrain is an important regional financial hub par excellence and it possesses high financing capabilities being home to major regional and GCC banks, Al Badi said, noting that the Sultanate of Oman should benefit from the financial centre of Bahrain in supporting the projects of the Tenth Five-Year plan and Oman Vision 2040.


Al Badi proposed attracting some regional banks by opening branches in the Sultanate of Oman thus supporting mega projects in the Sultanate of Oman and the region as a whole.


Al Badi described the volumes of trade exchange between the two countries as excellent saying: “The trade exchange has been growing well in the past two years, registering RO 201.7 million in 2020 and RO 323.3 million in 2021."


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