On the special occasion of Bahrain’s National Day, Gulf Insider takes a closer look at relationships between Bahrain and some of its major trading partners.
Bahrain and France have maintained close relations for more than a century. The jeweler Jacques Cartier came to Bahrain in 1911 for the famous pearls that the French women were so fond of! Bilateral relations continued and significantly improved with the creation of the Alliance française in 1969 as a cultural and linguistic center. Diplomatic relations were officially established in 1974. Since then, Franco-Bahraini cooperation has been based on trust and friendship.
In terms of economic relations, nearly forty French companies have a presence in the country. In the last five years, some prominent French companies have played a significant role for the national economy, notably Aéroports de Paris, which is designing the new airport terminal, that will be inaugurated next year, and Airbus that took part in the renewal of Gulf Air’s fleet with the purchase of 29 Airbus aircrafts.
Cooperation between Bahrain and France relies also on culture and education. Since the Royal Decree issued in 2009, French has become the third language taught in schools, after English and Arabic. The French Arabian Business School (FABS), a school located in Bahrain with a regional dimension, delivers an ESSEC-MBA. On the cultural level, a French archeological mission was launched in 1977, notably concerning the fort Qal’at Al Bahrain. An agreement was signed between the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and the Louvre Museum to display items from the Dilmun and Tylos civilizations in a department of the emblematic French museum.
Starting my mission in Bahrain, I am already impressed by the broad diversity of cooperation projects. We can still do better and we are dedicated to this objective on a daily basis.