LONDON: Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad on Tuesday met with Prince William at Windsor Castle, on the sidelines of his official visit to the UK, where he lauded the over 200-year relationship between the two nations.
The crown prince conveyed greetings from King Hamad to King Charles III and the Prince of Wales, the Bahrain News Agency reported.
Prince Salman, who began his two-day visit on Monday, said there was growing cooperation between the two kingdoms and “the development and progress they are witnessing, which are based on the depth and strength of bilateral relations, and the importance of continuing to push them to reach the desired aspirations,” BNA reported.
Prince Salman also met with UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly to discuss regional and global developments.
Earlier on Saturday, the crown prince attended a business reception organized by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Nicholas Lyons, and UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch, in cooperation with leading British enterprises.
He highlighted Team Bahrain’s determination and commitment to achieving the kingdom’s wide-ranging economic and investment goals by bolstering current global partnerships.
Prince Salman commended the efforts of the Bahrain Economic Development Board to attract investment that would help to diversify the country’s economy and create quality opportunities for citizens.
The crown prince then attended a ceremony where several agreements were signed, including a deal between Minister of Finance and National Economy Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa and Badenoch, and a memorandum of understanding on biodiversity and marine pollution between Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and the Deputy CEO of the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Tim Green.
An agreement was signed to facilitate internships for Bahrainis in Britain by the governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, Rasheed Mohamed Al-Maraj, and the chairman of Naisbitt King Group, Alastair King. There was also an agreement concluded between the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance and the London Institute of Banking and Finance on training and education, signed by the CEO of the BIBF, Dr. Ahmed Abdul Hameed Abdul Ghani Al-Shaikh, and the CEO of LIBF, Alex Fraser.
A pact to launch services for testing pearls and precious gemstones was signed by the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones “Danat” in the UK. The agreement was inked by the CEO of Danat, Noura Jamsheer, and the managing director of MALCA-AMIT, Charles Frederick Richard Turner.
There was also an agreement reached on the provision of financial asset management services and investment opportunities between the CEO of SICO Bank, Najla Al-Shirawi, and Executive Vice President and President of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Northern Trust Teresa Parker.
There were several announcements including the UK being granted the status of an authorized partner of the Global Center for Maritime and Air Cargo Services, the launch of a British company specializing in insurance brokerage services, and the establishment of a regional services hub for PwC Middle East, which is expected to create 250 jobs. In addition, the two nations would launch a studio for financial technology projects in Bahrain, and establish an investment platform to manage student housing assets in the UK.
In a speech, Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa, the finance minister, highlighted the growing ties between the two nations. He added that the GCC economies collectively grew during 2022 by 7.3 percent, to reach a total of $2 trillion.
He stressed the importance of the UK-GCC Free Trade Agreement in expanding new multi-dimensional economic prospects, and announced the full recognition of the Bahraini-British Business Forum as an official branch of the British Chamber of Commerce.
Sheikh Salman said that the kingdom has grown significantly, with 2022 economic indicators revealing that the non-oil sector now contributes 83.1 percent to the country’s GDP, the highest in the history of Bahrain. Moreover, overall GDP grew 4.9 percent at constant prices, the highest growth since 2013.
He added that the non-oil sector recorded growth of 6.2 percent in 2022 at constant prices, the highest since 2012, which he attributed to the Bahraini government’s economic planning.
Lyons, London’s lord mayor, said: “The links between the UK and Bahrain remain strong. The high number of UK business leaders attending this event demonstrates the desire to strengthen these economic links further.
“As a world leader in financial services and green finance, UK businesses are well-placed to assist Bahrain’s own Vision 2030 to strengthen the private sector and diversify the economy.”
“Focused on sustainability, fairness and competitiveness, Vision 2030 will help ensure that Bahrain’s economy continues to thrive well into the remainder of the 21st century,” he added.