Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has said it plans to invest about $150m in local projects in 2013, its largest ever domestic investment, as it moves to stimulate the economy after more than two years of pro-democracy protests against the government.
The investments will focus on real estate, downstream aluminium projects, and tourism projects. The real estate investments could be in the form of funding to help restart stalled real estate projects like Bahrain Bay and Marina West. Mumtalakat would be working through its real estate arm Edamah, according to Mahmood al-Kooheji, chief executive officer of the fund.
He added that Mumtalakat would only get involved if it sees the projects as commercially viable. “There’s a new wave of activity coming out of Edamah, but they will be looking at things commercially,” says Kooheji.
The $150m is set to be split between $50m for downstream aluminium projects, $45m for real estate investments, and $42m for tourism and hospitality projects.
The move is a U-turn on its previous aim of diversifying away from a heavy investment in the Bahraini economy. In 2008, the fund said it wanted to start working towards having 50 per cent of its $9bn assets invested internationally, up from 2 per cent at the time. Soon afterwards, it said the financial crisis led the fund to put this on hold.