More than 300 Bahraini and Israeli business leaders attended the opening ceremony of the three-day Connect2Innovate forum in Manama on Monday.

Connect2Innovate is the first conference of its kind, gathering government officials, large corporations, international organizations, business communities and technology innovators to focus on challenges in fintech, logistics, supply change, water, energy and climate.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro said the event affirms the growing partnership between Bahrain and Israel. He stressed that Bahrain represents a prominent investment center, while Israel is well-known for research and development of modern technology.

“By combining both our strengths, we have the ability to transform the region and work together to meet today’s challenges and build a bright future for all,” he said.

Khalid Yusuf Ahmed Al Jalahma, the ambassador of Bahrain to Israel, said in his speech to the attendees he was “proud to say” that collaborations, in all fields, “are expanding and we always strive to grow them even more.”

Eitan Na’eh, the ambassador of Israel to Bahrain, said, “The conference will allow our business communities to explore ways to cooperate moving forward and together, by creating a model whereby close friendly relations plus cooperation in innovation equals opportunities for growth and prosperity.”

Avi Hasson, CEO of the Start-Up Nation Central NGO, said, “As our region moves from being a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one, Israel and Bahrain are prime[d] to work together toward achieving this vision. Together, we will blaze a new path forward and this conference is just the beginning as long-lasting relationships form [and] solutions to common challenges are identified.”

The conference was organized by Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization that connects governments, companies and investors to the Israeli innovation ecosystem, in cooperation with the kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Economic Development Board, and embassy in Israel, and the Israel embassy in Bahrain.

During the opening ceremony, a memorandum of understanding was signed to promote human capital development between the two nations.


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