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    UNIS/OUS/272
    20 January 2015

    Re-issued as received

    UNIDO, international finance institutions promote entrepreneurship at Bahrain Investment Forum

    VIENNA/MANAMA, 19 January (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have agreed to foster entrepreneurship in Africa and the Middle East and North Africa region.

    UNIDO has also agreed to work with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) to stimulate the contribution of Arab capital investments and technical assistance in order to develop countries in Africa.

    These agreements were signed in Manama today during the First International Entrepreneurs Investment Forum, which runs from 19 to 21 January. The Forum was opened by Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, in the presence of the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as representatives of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture for Arab Countries.

    "Economic growth is driven by entrepreneurship, as well as by continuous economic diversification, increasing trade, industrial upgrading and technological innovation," said Li Yong, the Director General of UNIDO.

    "The growing number of partnerships established with international finance institutions, such as the IDB and BADEA, reflect the urgent need to enhance South-South cooperation in order to alleviate poverty within the next generation."

    Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the IDB, said: "Partnering with UNIDO is a powerful way to simultaneously address the challenges of entrepreneurship, innovation, gender and access to finance."

    Yusuf Al Bassam, Chairman of the Board of BADEA, added: "It's a win-win situation - we bring in our financial knowledge and expertise in funding development projects while UNIDO contributes through its technical skills and networks."

    The UNIDO Director General is also expected to sign here cooperation agreements with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Intel, the multinational microchip manufacturer. These partnerships are expected to help leverage UNIDO's role in helping entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises access finance.

    The Bahrain Forum, which has as its theme, "Entrepreneurship and Investment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development", is organized by the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Manama. It is being attended by some 1000 participants from 80 countries. The event serves as a platform for exploring cooperation opportunities, as well as joint investment and business partnerships with potential partners from around the world.

    Two side events will take place on 20 and 21 January: the International Green Economy Forum, organized by the Bahrain Supreme Council for Environment and UNIDO; and the Arab Youth Conference, with the theme, "Entrepreneurship and Innovation", organized by Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, President of the Arab Thought Forum.

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    For more information, please contact:

    Mohamed-Lamine Dhaoui
    Director, UNIDO Business Investment and Technology Services Branch
    Email: m.dhaoui[at]unido.org