By Andy Sambidge
Bahrain Economic Development Board's chief economist delivers upbeat message on kingdom
Economic growth in Bahrain is expected to rise to more than five percent this year on the back of a rebound in oil production and expansion in non-oil sectors.
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) said the Gulf kingdom saw GDP growth of 3.4 percent last year with non-oil sectors expanding by 6.7 percent
Dr Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at the Bahrain EDB, said at a seminar that productivity growth - particularly in tradable sectors such as manufacturing - should be at the centre of sustained economic growth in the kingdom.
According to Kotilaine, much of Bahrain's growth over the past decade has come from the rapid expansion of sectors such as financial services, retail and services, construction and real estate.
However, he added that while they will remain important in the years ahead, the emphasis of development will likely shift more towards the tradable sector.
Sectors of particular promise include knowledge-based services and high value-added manufacturing, he said.
He added that one of Bahrain's key competitive advantages in the coming years will be its growing young population, and investments in this human capital will be critical for the sustained expansion of the non-oil economy.
Kotilaine said: "What is important is not just the level of economic growth in a given year but a development pattern that ensures sustainable and inclusive growth.
"The quality of economic growth is above all measured by its ability to provide Bahrainis with greater well-being and opportunities - now and in the future."