Bahrain protests: Economy lost US$2 billion
Chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Essam Fakhro, said on Monday that Bahrain’s economy lost approximately $2 billion dollars due to the political unrest that erupted in the country in February. Bahrain, a non-OPEC small state oil producer, witnessed turmoil in February when protests, primarily from the Shi’ite majority took to the streets, demanding democratic reforms in the Sunni governed country.
The protests, the worst of its kind since the nineties, were suppressed in March with the assistance of troops from neighboring countries. The turmoil caused the government to cancel the Formula One race in June, a major sporting event in Bahrain. Further, British newspapers reported last week that the European Tour of Golf would not be held in Bahrain early next year.
Fakhro estimated, in an exclusive interview with Asharq al-Awsat of London, that the Bahraini economy lost between $1.5 to $2 billion dollars due to the February events. He said the decisions taken by the Bahraini government helped regain the trust of investors and residents.
Fakhro said the Gulf is rich in wealth and resources, noting that government spending for the Gulf States combined is expected to reach about $2.5 trillion dollars, in the next ten years. The money will go for infrastructure projects, some of which are already underway.
Bahrain said it released a group of detainees, among them former members of parliament accused of protesting against the government. The Standard & Poor’s, a credit rating agency, raised Bahrain’s rating citing easing political tensions and expectations that the increase in government spending will raise economic growth next year. Analysts expect the Bahraini economy to grow by 2.7% this year. (Source: www.yallafinance.com)