Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), has welcomed the launch of a branch in Bahrain by Canara Bank, one of India’s premier financial services institutions. The wholesale bank branch, which is the first fully operational location in the GCC for Canara Bank, will offer a range of products for Indian corporations and will also be the base for Canara Bank’s expansion plans in the region. Canara Bank, with a majority holding by the Government of India, was founded in 1906 and has over 3,400 branches across India as well as overseas branches in the UK (London & Leicester), Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Bank has also a joint venture in Moscow and a Representative Office in Sharjah, UAE. Shaikh Mohammed said: “I am delighted that Canara Bank has chosen Bahrain as the location from which to access the trillion dollar Gulf market and the wider Middle East. The financial services sector has played a vital role in our economic growth over the last four decades, and by attracting investment from key emerging economies such as India we are well placed to continue to achieve long-term, sustainable economic growth.” As the longest established financial centre in the GCC, Bahrain has a leading position in a range of financial sector activities including fund management, insurance and Islamic finance. Bahrain also has a mature support services sector infrastructure and skilled talent base, both of which have developed around the finance sector. The EDB has the responsibility for helping to attract foreign investment and achieve sustainable economic diversification and development in the Kingdom, under the guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of the EDB. Bahrain’s Vision 2030 is designed to support further diversification of the economy – already the most diversified in the Gulf with more than 86 percent being non-oil related – and ultimately elevate national living standards by creating greater opportunities for all Bahrainis.