Since the NAC (or National Action Charter) gave a kick start to nationwide reforms the economy in Bahrain has grown three times larger, according to a well known economist.
Dr Yousef Mashal, chairman of the BEDS (or Bahrain Export Development Society) states that the GDP of Bahrain grew from BD 3.25 billion (or $8.6 billion) in 2000 to BD 11.26 billion (or $29.8 billion) last year.
Net growth of the GDP has increased over the past decade, reaching 6.3 percent in 2009 up from 4 percent in 2000.
It was expected that this figure would hit 7.5 percent in 2010, but Mashal noted that the worldwide financial crisis stifled growth, which only hit 4.5 percent last year.
In response to the NAC, Dr Mashal stated that the industrial production in Bahrain grew more than twice the size, reaching 6.9 percent in 2010 up from 3.4 percent in the year 2000.
Exports in the nation rose significantly, going from BD 1.24 billion (or $3.3 billion) back in 2000 up to BD 5.85 billion (or $15.5 billion) in 2010. Imports rose to BD 5.38 billion in 2010 (or $14.25 billion), up from BD 1.32 billion back in 2000 (or $3.5 billion).
Dr Mashal commented to the GDN (Gulf Daily News) stating that reforms and the NAC have created an attractive climate for businesses in Bahrain.
Back in 2000 the imports of Bahrain were higher than the exports, creating a trade deficit. Currently, there is a surplus in Bahrain that helps them rank 75th in the world for trade balances.
There is a more liberal economy in the nation now, with competition, lower taxes, value-orientation, full business and property ownership and a currency that is freely converted.
The NAC, stated Mashal, has been instrumental in securing and stabilizing the investment environment and allowing the nation to become the most established hub for business in the Gulf region.
There is a mature infrastructure for both legalities and administration, offering peace of mind and security to investors as they look to Bahrain as a potential place of business.
Dr Mashal stated that investors appreciated the transparency and the reforms already in place that were not driven by political motives, but by economic growth over the coming years.
Investors can see that Bahrain’s leader is courageous, determined and puts both political and economic reforms and a vision for the future in the driver’s seat. This is all positive and appealing to those investors who are looking for assurance of a good investment decision, according to the chief executive director of the Mashal Group.
The average Bahraini has also felt the effects of the economic growth as GDP per capita climbed from BD 5,170 (or $13,700) back in 2000 to reach BD 12,580 (or $33,300) in 2009, according to Mashal. GDP per capita is the figure for the average annual income per person.
Mashal stated that even if the Bahraini people look over the last decade and do not recognize the progress, the figures show that economic growth has sustained the delivery of services to a population that grew from 512,000 back in 2000 to over 1.2 million in 2010.
He also noted that these changes tend to take a generation to be felt accurately, as people realize they are living within a higher bracket over that time period.
This is one reason why reform continues to be needed and worked for.
Mashal stated that although there have been many achievements reached in the last decade, the developments will not halt and the daily processes of hard work and reform will not come to an end. They are passed on from generation to generation, driving the movement in the economic bank and benefiting the entire nation.Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News