Manama, Nov.27 (BNA): Bahrain has made substantial progress towards achieving both its ambitious Economic Vision 2030 targets, an in-depth report into the Kingdom’s economy revealed today. The Bahrain Human Development Report, produced by the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), highlighted the Kingdom’s success in diversifying its economy and in recognising the importance of environmental concerns.
The report noted that the Kingdom’s progress towards its own 2030 targets, first set out in 2008, has been achieved while incorporating the global targets laid down in the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2015. His Excellency Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Chairman of Derasat, said: "The authors of the report should be commended for their highly detailed analysis of the Bahraini economy.
Their findings are also welcome as they validate the many years of hard work from across the public and private sectors to deliver a more successful and inclusive economy for the people of Bahrain." The report’s authors emphasised two areas crucial to the success of the Bahrain economy: diversification and sustainability.
The diversification of the economy has gathered pace as government-instigated reforms have encouraged the growth of sectors such as finance, technology and logistics. Addressing environmental issues ensures the highest possible living standards for future generations.
Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said: "Bahrain is a nation that enjoys very high levels of human development and yet like many other countries also faces challenges across the development spectrum.
"Bahrain's economic vision 2030 already demonstrates a commitment to addressing those challenges and my hope is that this Human Development Report becomes an important touch stone for informing policy makers and partners alike in Bahrain."
Bahrain has always been at the forefront of change in the region, from being the first to discover oil in the GCC to establishing the region’s first banking system. The Kingdom is now home to the biggest Islamic Finance industry in the region and has significantly pivoted away from being an oil-led economy. The broad base of the Bahrain economy is now reflected in the fact that the oil and gas sector represents only 18.4% of the economy. Financial services contribute 16.7% of GDP and manufacturing 14.5%.
The success of Bahrain’s financial sector was a recurring theme in the report, as the Kingdom is now home to nearly 400 financial institutions, and the region’s first and biggest FinTech incubator, FinTech Bay. The establishment of an excellent ICT infrastructure was also recognised as a key enabler of success across the broader economy. Equally, the Report commended the Government for utilising regional integration as a source of economic growth.
Unsurprisingly, these strengths are a great attraction to overseas investors, with foreign direct investment into Bahrain on the increase. Sustainability includes a wide range of issues and the Report found that Bahrain was making great strides in these areas including education and environmental awareness.
Tamkeen, Bahrain’s public authority tasked with fostering the development of the private sector and improving the productivity of Bahrain’s workforce was singled out for praise for its education and training programmes that have enabled significant gains in Human Capital. For example, the UN’s Human Development Index placed Bahrain in the very highest human development category, having gained seven positions in the world-wide rankings since 2012, the best result in the region.
The report also concluded that the Kingdom has seen major advances in the contribution of women to the economy. It found that on average women earn the same as men, and that more than 50% of companies registered in Bahrain are now founded by women. Such success was recently recognised by the World Bank that not only placed Bahrain first in the MENA region in its Human Capital Index, but also found that women performed better than men overall.
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BNA 1750 GMT 2018/11/27