Bahrain's leaders embrace economic reforms to spur diversification

Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), chaired by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, met recently to discuss $32 million in infrastructure and economic reforms aimed at fortifying the kingdom’s long-term development by lessening its reliance on oil to drive growth.

The reforms are part of a comprehensive restructuring project that also includes streamlining government costs and redirecting government subsidies to Bahrain’s citizens.

Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who also serves as the kingdom’s first deputy prime minister, said at the meeting that the infrastructure improvements are vital to diversifying Bahrain’s non-oil sector.

He also stressed that the ultimate goal of the reforms is to improve living standards in Bahrain by creating sustainable job opportunities and modernizing the nation’s business and investment regulations to encourage entrepreneurship.

While sharing the 2016 operational plan, EDB Chief Executive Khalid Al Rumaihi said Bahrain is expected to see a 3.6 percent increase in economic growth this year, thanks in large part to its ongoing economic diversification efforts. He also said the financial, manufacturing and construction sectors have surpassed the oil sector in contributions to Bahrain’s gross domestic product.

To keep the momentum going, Al Rumaihi said the board’s 2016 operational plan calls for focusing on the tourism; manufacturing, transportation and logistics; financial services; and information and communications technology sectors.

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Bahrain Economic Development Board

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