Published September 7th, 2006 - 12:51 GMT

His Highness Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain, has said the development of the Kingdom’s nationals is key to the country’s long-term success and is integral to a new strategy being implemented to deliver sustained growth.

News of the three-pronged strategy came in an exclusive interview, featured in ‘Emerging Bahrain 2006’ – the second comprehensive economic, business and political review of the island nation produced by the UK-based publishing, research and consultancy service - Oxford Business Group.

“Bahrain is not blessed with the same level of oil and gas resources as our neighbours, so we must make use of our strongest natural resource – our people – if we are to prosper in the future,” said the Crown Prince.

“We are therefore trying to create a strategy that will engage and motivate our citizens in the short-term, and which will deliver sustainable growth in the long-term.”

The Crown Prince said the new strategy would have three main development themes – the stimulation of the private sector, transformation of government and investment in nationals. 

”Together, we hope those three initiatives will revitalise the Bahraini economy, delivering growth and greater prosperity for our citizens.”

The Crown Prince identified the private sector as “the engine of growth for our economy and we are doing everything we can to attract and encourage new businesses in the kingdom.”

Reductions in bureaucracy, improved efficiency and a transfer from operator to regulator is to be the cornerstone of government transformation, according to Sheikh Salman.  He added that national investment would see improvements to education, health services, housing and social support “so they can flourish.”

Sheikh Salman said development benefits need to be spread to all sections of Bahraini society and three actions were required to deliver success.

“We need to create a proposition that motivates and engages all levels of society,” he said. “Secondly, we need to give the widest range of people the chance to get involved – encouraging them to work together to address the challenges that face our nation. And most importantly, we must deliver. People will only believe that positive development is real if we show hard results. I would far rather under-promise and over-deliver with real reforms than wave vague promises of a better future.”

Sheikh Salman said Bahrain is “very used to the idea of rich neighbours” but would hold its own on the regional and international stage through the rich resource of its people.

“Throughout history the Bahraini people have proven to be our strongest asset, again and again. We will keep pace with our neighbours if we make best use of that resource.”

Effective utilisation of its national workforce, said the Crown Prince, has already achieved much for the Kingdom.

“It is our people that helped us become the financial capital of the Middle East, that developed the world’s largest modern aluminium sector, that built strong tourism and logistics sectors. Their ability to seek new outlets for their commercial instincts is a real strength,” explained Sheikh Salman.

“By virtue of our comparative size and level of natural resources, Bahrain will have to tread a different course from our neighbours. We simply cannot rely on oil or gas riches as our neighbours can. We do attract a great deal of inward investment from within the region and I think that will continue. Our economic and social freedoms make Bahrain an attractive investment destination for our neighbours, and I see this continuing.”

A vital source of information for foreign investors, ‘Emerging Bahrain 2006’ provides a detailed analysis of the Kingdom’s politics, economy, banking, capital markets, insurance, energy, industry, transport, real estate, construction, telecoms, IT, media and advertising.

Over 200 interviews were conducted with various heads of industry and government ministers, including Minister of Finance, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa who described the country as “the most diversified economy in the Gulf Cooperation Council.”

Emerging Bahrain 2006 was compiled by a team of seasoned analysts based on the ground for six months in partnership with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB) – a dynamic government agency responsible for formulating
and overseeing the country’s economic development strategy.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, CEO of EDB, explained: “This is the second consecutive year that EDB Bahrain has collaborated with OBG to produce Emerging Bahrain. Detailed analysis and insightful interviews with key players ensure Emerging Bahrain 2006 is essential reading for any parties interested in understanding the wealth of opportunities provided by Bahrain’s burgeoning economy”.

Caption:  His Highness Sheikh Salman tells Emerging Bahrain 2006 “we must make use of our strongest natural resource – our people.” 



About Oxford Business Group

Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a UK-based publishing, research and consultancy services organisation. It publishes economic and political intelligence on the emerging markets of the Gulf, the Levant, North Africa, Southern Africa, South East Asia and the Southern Balkans. Through its range of print and online products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of political, macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, energy, infrastructure, industry and insurance.

Written by a team of seasoned analysts based on the ground for six months, the critically acclaimed Emerging Markets series of economic, political and business annuals have become the leading source of intelligence on specific countries in emerging regions. OBG’s online economic briefings provide up-to-date in-depth analysis on the issues that matter for thousands of subscribers worldwide. OBG’s consultancy arm offers tailor-made market intelligence and advice to firms currently operating in emerging markets and those looking to enter them.

In the Gulf and Levant, OBG publishes Emerging Dubai, Emerging Abu Dhabi, Emerging Kuwait, Emerging Bahrain, Emerging Qatar, Emerging Oman, Emerging Lebanon, Emerging Jordan, Emerging Egypt and Emerging Syria.

In the pipeline are Emerging Northern Emirates and Emerging Saudi Arabia.

For further information: Sonia Larsen, MCS/Action, PO Box 20970, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +9714 390 2967; fax: +9714 390 8161, email:


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