The kingdom of Bahrain hosts a diverse and multicultural population, which in 2011 totalled around 1.2m people, of which 585,000 were Bahraini and 610,000 expatriates. Finance and energy remain key drivers of GDP growth in Bahrain. Energy still accounts for the majority of government revenues, but is shrinking as a proportion of GDP as Bahrain pushes ahead with economic diversification plans in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030. The island’s location enables it to serve as a key trans- Gulf transportation hub, while expansion plans at Bahrain International Airport will boost the kingdom’s status as a centre for trans-shipment and logistics. Expansion plans will also fan tourism growth, an increasingly important sector with Manama being designated the capital of Arab tourism in 2013 and showpiece events like the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix driving sector growth.
This chapter contains a viewpoint from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa; and an interview with Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry.