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Islamic banking growth in focus

MANAMA: Bahrain's bid to carve out a niche for itself as a global Islamic banking hub is mapped out in a wide-ranging report just published by Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Bahrain 2010 provides comprehensive coverage of the kingdom's developing role as a leader in Sharia-compliant financial products and services which is proving to be pivotal in its economic expansion.

The coverage includes a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, with a wide range of interviews with the kingdom's most prominent political, economic and business leaders.

As the kingdom looks to fend off competition to retain its place as the traditional financial centre in the Gulf, OBG's new publication also explores the steps local banks are taking to roll out Islamic services, prompted by growing interest among customers.

With figures indicating that growth in Bahrain's tourism sector is accelerating, the report puts the government's plan to develop the industry under the microscope.

It looks in detail at the country's plans to continue building its successful business traveller segment, while tapping growing markets such as leisure, culture and health tourism.

The report has been produced in partnership with the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Contributions have also been made by SICO Investment Bank as OBG's capital markets partner, BDO Bahrain as its accountancy partner and Qays H Zu'bi as legal partner.

"Bahrain's transparent, business-friendly environment, which has long helped give the kingdom an edge with investors, is being enhanced by the government's decision to make industrial expansion a key component as it diversifies the economy," said OBG regional editor Oliver Cornock.

"I am confident that the steps being taken, which include increasing land for industrial development, creating special investment clusters and the signing of further free trade agreements, will generate additional interest among the investment community and help Bahrain achieve the goals set out in its long-term development plan."



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