Your Highness, Minister, Distinguished Guests,
Firstly, I would like to welcome you all and express my gratitude for being here. Please let me also thank, for their esteemed presence, His Highness Shaikh Ebraim Bin Khalifa, Minister Queirolo Palmas of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms. Giarratana of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. A special thanks also goes to our UNIDO ITPO Bahrain colleagues and to Director, and friend, Dr. Hashim Hussein, for his valuable contribution offered in the organization of this event.
Bahrain has long been committed in the diversification of its economy and in the internationalization process of its companies. According to the 2011 second semester economic forecasts, Italy is first in importing Bahraini products and the fourth European country in exports. We believe that today new opportunities to capitalize and enhance this position will be brought to light. The auspice is to see increased direct involvement of Italian entrepreneurs, and new private and public partnerships established.
In a globalized economy it is fundamental to increase and facilitate business opportunities among companies, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are increasingly challenged by new and highly competitive markets. As new markets arise, there is a need for industries to respond with new business matchmaking tools increasing the opportunity to explore the great investment potentials offered by emerging economies.
At UNIDO ITPO Italy, we are involved in the promotion of developing countries’ (DCs) investment opportunities and we are pleased to create synergies with important Italian stakeholders, such as those which will intervene here today: ICE, SIMEST, Confindustria and Confapi.
Throughout our strong experience in supporting SMEs at a global level, we have constantly detected that Italian industrial excellence is truly recognized as a fundamental asset for emerging economies. Building on this point of strength, it is necessary to capitalize on this advantage and to promote the transfer of technology and know-how, seizing the increase of opportunity in developing countries. This does not turn into the delocalization of enterprises, but into the strengthening of the entrepreneurial network with the goal of generating investment opportunities and propelling sustainable development.
Following this morning’s session, we have organized a forum to facilitate direct dialogue between Italian and Bahraini companies to mutually work toward achieving these goals. It is an important opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and in that, I would like to express my wishes that this event may be the starting point for a sustained future of economic and commercial collaborations.
Thank you all again for your attention. I would like to now give the floor to Minister Plenipotentiary and Coordinator for Gulf countries Stefano Queirolo Palmas.