Island of the Golden Smiles – Kingdom of Bahrain|
The independent emirate of Bahrain consists of a group of about 30 small islands which are located in the Gulf of Bahrain, an anabranch of the Persian Gulf between Saudi-Arabia and the peninsula of Qatar. The Islam is characterizing the culture of the country which has about 650.000 inhabitants. But the religious instructions in Bahrain are less dogmatic than in many other neighbouring states of the Persian Gulf.
Economic growth is on the upswing
Bahrain covers the smallest area of all GCC States (Gulf Cooperation Council) with marginal sources of oil and gas. Despite this fact the economic upswing is showing his first results. In 2006 experts calculate with an increase of 5-6% of the gross domestic product; further forecasts predict an economic upswing of 7% or more per year. The facts of establishing Bahrain as a regional financial centre and building up its own industry have caused constant economic growth. Products of refinery belong to the most important export goods. The heavy industries are closely related to the crude oil, which is conveyed off shore by Abu Safah partly from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has committed the utilisation to Bahrain. In 2004 Bahrain as the first GCC state signed a free trade agreement with the United States of America; therefore Bahrain gets severe criticism from Saudi Arabia. That is why Riyadh was obliged to shorten the conveyance capacity of the oil and gas industry of Bahrain.
Further on Bahrain is still focusing systematically on the expansion of the petrochemical industry. Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. is a well established manufacturer of fertilizing goods located in Bahrain whose production is growing in the last years. The lack of gas is deflating petrochemical investments. In 2002 Bahrain has antagonised this grievance by signing a declaration of intent with Qatar. The increase of the natural gas capacity has positive effect on the economic development of Bahrain. Now it´s possible to build a new petrochemical industry complex; the expansion into the aluminium industry with all its cost involved investments is also assured. With investments of 1 bill $ the harbour and the industry area “Hidd” should also be extended. Even a roller plant for high grade steel with a capacity of 90.000t per year belongs to new investments. With approximately 12% the processing trade of Bahrain plays an important role for the entire economic growth. Both the aluminium and the oil industry are each noticeable with a third to the whole economic growth.
Positive project developments
The building industry is reporting a big upswing. The biggest project is called “Durrat AL Bahrain” with a total value of 20 km˛ located in the South of the Bahrain. Nearly 13 artificial-built islands were made up especially for this project. 390 luxury mansions which were built during the first construction phase have already been sold out in January 2005. A commercial centre with a size of 20 ha is planned to be build in the financial harbour of Bahrain. Bigger projects like the Bahrain City Centre Mall, the Sheraton Hotel, the Al Dafna Al Hamra Resort, the AL-Areen Desert Spa&Resort and the King Hamad General Hospital with more than 300 beds are already in progress. The emirate is aiming to strengthen his position as a financial centre in the Middle East by establishing the Bahrain Financial Harbour. In 2009 the capital Manama will create a totally new district near Manama harbour which will offer bureaus and commercial properties with more than 380.000 m˛ to financially strong companies. This major project is financially measured with 1.3 Bill. $ and is exclusively supported by private investors.