His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) today chaired a board meeting of the EDB in Riffa Palace.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is implementing a comprehensive programme of structural economic and fiscal reforms to further strengthen its long-term development. The programme is underpinned by three pillars: streamlining government expenditure; further redirecting government subsidies towards citizens; and a series of economic reforms and infrastructure projects worth more than $32 billion to increase investment and maintain growth.
His Royal Highness noted during the board meeting’s opening that the unprecedented infrastructure investment due to take place in Bahrain will make a vital contribution to diversification efforts and non-oil sector growth.
Speaking about the Kingdom’s comprehensive economic strategy, His Royal Highness stressed that a key priority within the strategy is to further improve citizens’ living standards and provide sustainable job opportunities for all, and also emphasised that improving and modernising business and investment regulation is crucial to facilitating and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities.
During the meeting, Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the EDB, presented the EDB’s operational plan for 2016 and the target sectors that the EDB will focus on over the next 12 months.
Mr. Al Rumaihi highlighted that the EDB’s efforts to promote the Kingdom in target markets – including in China and Germany – this year have resulted in a number of significant business agreements and attracted international investment that will support substantial job creation. The Chief Executive also noted that continued diversification efforts have led to stable economic growth, which is forecast to reach 3.6% in 2015, and that the contribution of the financial services, manufacturing, and construction sectors now exceed that of the oil sector, which contributes only a fifth of GDP.
Mr. Al Rumaihi noted that the Crown Prince’s directives are reflected in the EDB’s 2016 operational plan, and that the EDB’s future efforts will focus specifically on the manufacturing, transportation and logistics; tourism; financial services; and ICT sectors.