Bahrain leads the bunch
Bahrain ranks first for FDI Strategy in fDi’s Middle East and African Countries of the Future 2015/16. Since its conception in 2001, the Economic Development Board for Bahrain has operated to attract investment, help investors realise projects and ensure they are assisted once established. The agency organises events such as roadshows and delegation visits to promote the country both locally and internationally. Its staff attend global events and training sessions to ensure they maintain their high quality service to investors. Training includes FDI training, as well as project management and on-the-job training with external consultants.
Between 2009 and 2014, the board helped attract 190 FDI projects to Bahrain, according to greenfield data monitor fDi Markets. The promotion of further integration with other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – a political and economic union whose member states include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – brings investors closer to a potential market of more than 48 million people.
Major infrastructure developments include a GCC railway, which will link all six Gulf states and ease the movement of people and freight. The country is also investing heavily in its airport, modernising and increasing the capacity of Bahrain International Airport to 14 million passengers annually.
Operational since 2001, the Board of Investment in Mauritius has been responsible for the promotion and facilitation of FDI, as well as policy advocacy in its interest. The board operates eight offices in key international markets: Beijing, Geneva, Pretoria, London, Moscow, Mumbai, New York and Paris. These offices service international investors and buyer communities, all the while boosting marketing and promotion strategies for the country. A dedicated Africa strategy will serve to increase the country’s visibility as an investment destination across the region, home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. A separate Mauritius Africa fund is to focus on the establishment of special economic zones, which are key drivers in attracting investment.
A major redevelopment strategy is underway for the Port of St Louis. The aim is to focus the port’s activities on five major activities – bunkering, seafood, transhipment, cruise and petroleum – to elevate the port’s activities and contribution to the economy. Plans are also in place for eight cities in the country to become Smart Cities, transforming them into self-sustaining townships. These cities will include smart technology and modern transportation, while also generating their own resources in terms of water and electricity. The intention is to boost private investment and job creation by encouraging the growth of the construction and clean technology sectors.
Botswana Investment and Trade Centre operates with more than 100 staff across four global locations; Gaborone, London, Johannesburg and Mumbai. Staff in the organisation learn on the job, as well as receiving training from regional and international partner organisations, such as UNCTAD and the World Bank, in international best practices. Staff are well equipped to deal with foreign companies wishing to invest in the country. A low corporation tax of 22% is offered to companies in Botswana, the third-lowest rate in sub-Saharan Africa, beaten only by Mauritius (15%) and Madagascar (20%). Offshore financial services companies can access a preferential rate of corporation tax, just 15%. And there are no foreign exchange controls in the country, meaning free repatriation of profits, dividends and capital for companies.