MENAF - 20/4/2006
Bahrain is well-positioned to double its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita by 2015 and achieve growth at 9 per cent a year, the chief executive officer at the Economic Development Board, Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa has said.
In his presentation titled "Bahrain: Reforming our Economy" at the monthly meeting of the French Bahraini Business Club, Shaikh Mohammed highlighted the diversification process started in 1960s to minimise the dependence of the national economy on oil and oil related revenues.
He said: "Since the 1960s, Bahrain has started an economic diversification strategy that favoured non-oil sectors. Bahrain has identified economic clusters as the most promising industry sectors for investments including tourism, the financial sector, business services, aluminium and downstream industries logistics.
He said: "Bahrain has the lowest daily production of oil in the Gulf - and the second-lowest barrels per person. At $65 - $70 per barrel, this does not matter - but in the next down cycle, the economic model becomes unworkable.
"Improved productivity is the long-term driver of increased wealth in all advanced economies as Bahrain aspires to set its productivity improvement at among the best in the world and triple the current rate of productivity improvement from 1.5 per cent to 5 per cent a year and increase GDP growth to nine per cent a year.
Bahrain attracted highest foreign direct investment of $865 million in 2004 (a 41.1 per cent increase over the $517 million in 2003) and had been ranked the best among all Arab countries for its FDI performance, and third among all Arab countries for its potential FDI performance.
He added: "Bahrain's economic evolution is aimed to re-capture the Kingdom's leadership position as the pre-eminent economy in the region. These initiatives will help to make Bahrain the preferred place to create and grow a business, by both nationals and foreigners. The removal of barriers to growth such as access to capital, land, judicial and legal infrastructures will trigger the two-way flow of investments."