A fruitful visit on all levels and by all measures by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, to the Republic of Italy. The delegation, chaired by His Highness, included a team of government officials and businessmen. I was deeply honoured to be part of the ‘Bahrain Team’ which included in its membership all the distinguished proponents working for the welfare, well-being and prosperity of Bahrain.
During this visit, I had the opportunity to view His Highness the Crown Prince closely; a flame of activity and vitality, leading the Bahrain team and moving with a high sense of mission and great optimism from one meeting to another. I saw the ministers and government officials, all members of the ‘Bahrain team’ who were participating in the visit, also moving effectively on the ground at the Italian stadium, as I closely examined the dedication and commitment of the employees of the Crown Prince’s Court in their work.
I think that this visit, which was led by His Highness the Crown Prince to Italy, has many implications. Italy is a country seeking growth amidst great challenges. It has rich experience in developing industrial, tourism and service sectors and challenging the accumulation of public debt. Just as Italy is the gateway to southern Europe for our Arab region, so is Bahrain the gateway to the Middle East. This visit comes days after Britain’s exit from the European Union, with the implications of this exit on the economies of European countries. At the same time we are witnessing rapid changes in the global economic scene after the trade quarrels between the United States and China, in addition to the emergence of the coronavirus in China. Its implications on the Chinese economy are organically linked to the global economy. All of these factors and others reflect the need to build flexible business alliances between Bahrain and various countries around the world, and not to rely on economic relations that have existed for decades with traditional trading partners.
Although I have visited Italy almost every year, I saw this European country, during this last visit, as I have not seen it before. I saw it through the Crown Prince’s inclinations and insight into matters. I saw the messages that Bahrain can send to the world about tolerance and coexistence through our visits to the Vatican. I saw how Bahrain can contribute to creating a space for peace and scientific research through our visit to the European Space Agency in Rome, and I saw how we can promote Bahrain as a centre for advanced technologies in the intelligence industry, Internet of things, cloud computing and cyber security through our visit to Amazon there. I saw all of these things, and many more.
In Italy, we spent three working days full of meetings from morning to evening, without stopping or tiring. The programme, meticulously planned in all its details, was developed by the Economic Development Board team. I cannot help but praise its efforts and express great admiration for its organisational ability that exceeded my expectations.
As president of the Italian-Bahraini Friendship Association, I can confirm the success of this visit, and I can also do this through my personal experience in trade with Italy. Two months ago we opened, on the ground floor of the headquarters of Promoseven group in Muharraq, the headquarters of the ‘Italian Design Centre (IDH)’. Through this centre anyone can learn the extent of the popularity of Italian products in Bahrain, especially those related to building materials.
I believe that His Highness the Crown Prince, through this visit, has opened up for us businessmen in Bahrain, broad prospects for the development of our business, while strengthening our association with our Italian counterparts by entering into new joint projects. Our responsibility now is to build on the outcomes of this visit, invest in the bilateral agreements that were signed for this purpose, and to reflect the confidence of our leadership in us. And, by doing so, live up to its aspirations.
* Chairman, Bahraini-Italian Friendship Association * Chairman, Promoseven Holding Group [email protected]