Bahrain is an Arabic word meaning “Two Seas” and refers to the two sources of water surrounding the islands, fresh water springs and the surrounding seas. Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 small islands and enjoys a strategic location in the Arabian Gulf midway between the Qatar peninsula and Saudi Arabia. It is connected to Saudi Arabia by a 25km causeway. Bahrain is divided into five governate Capital, Central, Muharraq, Northern and Southern. Apart from its booming financial services sector, Bahrain main products are aluminum, crude and refined oil, petrochemicals and gas.
King Hamad bin Isa AlKhalifa Head of Government. Bahrain has a bicameral legislature with a lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, elected by universal suffrage and the upper house, the Shura Council, appointed by the King. Both houses have forty members. The inaugural elections were held in 2002, with parliamentarians serving four year terms. Bahrain is a member of the UN, Arab League, Gulf Co-operation Council and OPEC.
In 1932 oil was found in Bahrain, the first discovery of oil on the Arab side of the Gulf. The reserve, however, is relatively small and Bahrain is expected to be the first Gulf country to run out of oil. Accordingly, the country is taking some steps to diversify its economy and further develop international business relationships.
According to the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, the country is facing a shortage of both quality employment and appropriate skills. Over the next ten years, the size of Bahrain’s workforce is expected to double. Presently, about 4,000 Bahrainis a year enter the job market with at least a college degree. If this continues, there will not be enough jobs to meet this demand. The private sector does not currently accommodate these numbers and Bahrain has addressed these issues by redistributing oil revenues and offering citizens jobs in the public sector. This oversized public sector, however, cannot be sustained in the future, considering the gradual decline of oil reserves. The most sustainable way of raising youth employment is a planned transformation to an economy that is driven by a strong private sector that will also offer attractive career opportunities to suitably skilled Bahrainis.
Other – Facts
Area: 711 sq kilometers (48km long, 16km wide)
Population: 1.425 million (2016)
Language: While Arabic is Bahrain’s official language, English is widely spoken, especially for business purposes.
Religion: Although Islam is the official state religion practiced by more than 80 per cent of the population, Bahrain is very tolerant to other beliefs.
Time: GMT +3 hours
Communications: Bahrain country code is +973
Currency: The Bahrain Dinar is divided into 1,000 fils. Notes are available in denominations of BD .500 fils, BD 1, 5, 10 and 20.