With Bahrain’s government allocating a budget of BD180 million ($477 million) for social housing projects in 2012, the construction sector is expected to see significant growth, said experts. The housing sector will also be supported by funding offered by the GCC countries and additional money from the surplus in the 2011 budget said senior delegates at a recent high-level business forum, Bahrain Outlook 2012.
Moderated by KPMG senior partner Jamal Fakhro, the forum summarised last year's forecast and discussed the economic outlook for 2012 across the region and in Bahrain in particular. The session was led by regional and international specialists who shared their perspective on the future of the region and analysed the impact on the global economy.
The speakers included BNP Paribas regional director Jean-Christophe Durand, Jawad Business Group chairman Faisal Jawad, assistant under-secretary for housing projects Sami Buhazza and Knight Frank Middle East chief executive Don Bradley. Mixed views were shared and discussed about the global economy and its impact on regional and local market over the next year. The European debt crisis has affected the global financial system and international banks are less likely to fund major projects in the coming year. In Bahrain, the local banks in 2011 were active in buying assets from Europe, thereby maintaining a better rating than some of the major European banks.
This year the retail business in Bahrain experienced a slowdown with a slump in sales due to changes in purchasing habits of consumers. It is expected that 2012 will be a time for consolidation and recovery of this sector which will further boost the kingdom's economy.
The Business Forum is one of a series of meetings organised by the Capital Club to provide a platform for members to hear from experts, exchange views, and prepare their plans for 2012, taking into account the impact of the recent European debt crisis.