Growth in Bahrain’s non-oil sector reached an annual pace of 4.7% in the first half of 2017 compared with 4% during the whole of 2016, according to the latest Bahrain Economic Quarterly published by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
A press release said that the growth has been due to increased activity in the private sector. Strong momentum was observed in hospitality, social and personal services and financial sectors, which together saw a year on year growth of 7%.
Real economic growth in the kingdom reached 3.4% in the first half of the year, compared with the 3.2% growth seen during the whole of 2016.
Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economic, Bahrain EDB, said, “The fact that growth figures have once again surprised on the upsides attests to the exceptional strength of the countercyclical growth drivers in the Bahraini economy, notably the unprecedented project pipeline, led by major ventures such as the airport modernization.
“However, growth is also increasingly benefiting from important structural reforms. During the first half of this year, initiatives such as pioneering crowdfunding regulations, a regulatory sandbox for FinTech companies and a Cloud First policy (designed to help organisations take advantage of cloud technology), have dramatically improved Bahrain’s business environment. Bahrain is successfully positioning itself at the forefront of innovation at a time when the growth prospects for the Gulf economies are becoming increasingly tied to productivity.
“As a result of this and the opportunities being created by economic transformation across the region, we are seeing bigger and brighter names attracted to Bahrain. For example, Amazon Web Services, whose summit was one of the highlights of the recent Bahrain Technology Week, will be opening its first Middle East Region here by 2019.”
Bahrain’s tourism industry is also growing steadily. According to the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, the aggregate total number of tourists visiting Bahrain during the first three quarters of 2017 was 8.7mn, showing a 12.8% increase compared with the figure for the first three months of 2016.
With development projects worth approximately US$10bn under construction across the Kingdom, including the US$159mn The Avenues shopping mall that was opened recently, and hotel resorts The One & Only in Seef and The Wyndham Grand in Bahrain Bay, this trajectory is set to continue in the near future, the release said.
Bahrain has a pipeline of infrastructure projects worth over US $32 billion either under construction or scheduled for the near future, the release added.