Foreign direct investment into Bahrain more than doubled between January and September 2018, jumping 138% year-on-year to a record $810m from 76 firms, according to the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB), as the country markets itself as a base for companies to access the region. This was up on 2017’s $733m and more than five times the amount recorded in 2015.

However, greenfield foreign investment into Bahrain during the first eight months of 2018 has reached a different record, with the number of projects falling to their lowest (at nine) since 2004, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times data service. Greenfield FDI from Western Europe into Bahrain has decreased consistently since 2010, fDi Markets found, with only one project registered this year, thus far.

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Key events in 2018 have been the advancement of the Bahrain’s fintech ecosystem, with the launch of Bahrain FinTech Bay, the largest fintech hub in the Middle East North Africa region, and the establishment of a $100m fund of funds to help finance start-ups across the Middle East.

Bahrain also saw several large announcements during the Gateway Gulf Investor Forum, which brought together more than 850 global investors and business leaders in early 2018 to discuss opportunities being created by the economic transformation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, said the EDB.

“The event provided a direct route into accessing the GCC market by showcasing major investment-ready projects worth $18bn, with projects in the planning phase driving up the value of the project pipeline to $26bn,” it added.