The park will cover an area of about three square kilometres and aims to attract a broad range of knowledge-based industries, both regional and international. Colleges and training centres will also be included. ‘The EDB’s involvement reflects the fact that this is designed to be a catalyst for wider economic reform and diversification,’ says Osama al-Khajah, head of corporate finance at KFH-Bahrain.

KFH’s strategic partner in the project is the Sophia Antipolis technology park in southern France, although consultations have been held with several other similar parks around the world. KFH will take an equity stake in the project and will be responsible for arranging the financing. The UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has completed a feasibility study.

UNIDO is also working with KFH and the government on a number of potential downstream aluminium ventures, after the organisation carried out a broad study into the industry’s potential in mid-2004 and drew up a number of project profiles. The bank has agreed to invest in various schemes, including factories to manufacture AC compressors, aluminium cans and aluminium paste. Some are likely to be located in the KFH Industrial Oasis, a 155,000-square-metre area to be developed within the Bahrain International Investment Park at Hidd (MEED 14:10:05).