*** ----> Challenging the negative growth narrative | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Challenging the negative growth narrative

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

It has been a week of economic headlines for Bahrain and the news has been encouraging. Last year, faced with a challenging slow recovery from the pandemic’s impact, the Minister of Finance and National Economy, Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, had outlined an economic recovery plan which included measurable goals.

These were built around the goals of job creation, streamlining trade procedures, implementing significant infrastructure projects, fostering growth in promising sectors, and promoting financial sustainability and economic stability.

Just in the past week, we have seen some of these goals hit the mark when the government announced approval of five projects as recipients of the sought-after ‘Golden License’ which gives the companies coveted ‘fast-track’ approvals in return for investments in Bahrain that brought in a total value of 1.4 billion US dollars.

These projects are expected to create 1,400 new jobs over the next three years, contributing significantly to the priorities of the recovery plan.

Similarly, the approval of the 2023-2024 budget stands as a notable achievement in the collaborative efforts between the concerned authorities to prioritise economic stability and the strengthening of the partnership with the private sector.

Notably, the private sector workforce is being supported through advanced and diversified programmes, as the Minister of Finance highlighted.

Rightly, there is an emphasis in increasing the capabilities and competitiveness of citizens through recognised Tamkeen-funded training.

The public-private participation is most apparent in the housing sector where 19 real estate companies and eight banks collaborated to present 10,000 properties during a recent property development and financing exhibition.

In tandem, the Projects Office in the Council of Ministers announced a government land investment platform, presenting nine new investment opportunities spanning agriculture, investment, and residential sectors, contributing to the targeted investments worth over $2.5 billion.

The government also offered 132 ready-to-sell modern housing units including the “Suhail” housing project in Al-Lawzi area.

Bahrain’s achievements have been recognised by international entities, such as the Global Report of Emerging Enterprise Ecosystems, which positions Bahrain among the top 10 nurturing environments for emerging enterprises in the region.

Considering these accomplishments, it is natural to question the perspectives of those who harbor pessimism, discouragement, or criticism.

As the great G.B. Shaw said, “It is impossible to progress without change, and those who do not change their minds cannot change anything.”


Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the ArabAfrican Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism