Need to develop non-oil exports

July, 2016

  • Bahrain’s economy, unlike some of the other GCC countries, have relatively less dependent on oil. However now with the oil prices expected to remain depressed, there is greater pressure to develop Bahrain’s non-oil exports.
  • TPOs (Trade Promotion Organizations) have been use by governments to promote exports.
  • But, we are now seeing a transition from Trade Promotion to Trade Development, hence the birth of TDOs (Trade Development Organizations) – who are expected to play a catalyst role by working through and working with a multitude of other organizations – with the final intent of enhancing the country’s exports.
  • Based on experience in 33 countries and more recently, based on experience in 10 aspects at which a TDO must succeed in order to be effective.
    • Scan: A TDO needs to be aware of its business environment and the changes that are happening in that very environment. A thorough evaluation needs to be carried out.
    • Reason for existence: Internal stakeholders need to be made aware of why the TDO exists. They also should be made to understand why the government is funding them.
    • KPIs: Criteria for the evaluation of the TDOs performance need to be agreed upon.
    • Prioritization & Focus: Priorities in terms of Industries, Export Markets, Regions and Value Chain Functions should be decided and key personnel should be briefed.
    • Enabling Environment: The TDO will not be able to influence everything. All aspects out of the TDO’s control which have major impacts on exports need to be identified and action plans need to be devised so that internal stakeholders know how to deal with them.
    • Supply Chain Management: A strategy must be designed so that Exporters / Industry have the capability to deliver potential demand.
    • Customer Conversion: A strategy should be set in place to convert potential customers (Importers).
    • Demand Generation: Strategies need to be arrived at to ensure on-going demand for exports.
    • Value Chain Progression: The TDO needs to actively keep tabs on whether exporters progress along the value chain and take measures to encourage them to do so.
    • Branding: An effective branding strategy which deals with how to brand the country, the industry, the product, the exporter, the exporter’s brand or the TDO must be created and executed to perfection.