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Sat 19 Dec 2015 01:24 AM

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Bahrain says $32bn projects will underpin economic growth

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa says infrastructure projects are part of long-term plan

Bahrain says $32bn projects will underpin economic growth
Bahrain World Trade Centre, Bahrain economy, Bahrain skyline, Bahrain business

Infrastructure investment totalling $32 billion will underpin Bahrain's long-term economic growth, according to Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB).

He said the Gulf kingdom is implementing a comprehensive programme of structural economic and fiscal reforms to further strengthen its long-term development.

He added in a statement that 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.

The Crown Prince said during the latest EDB board meeting that the "unprecedented infrastructure investment" will make a vital contribution to diversification efforts and non-oil sector growth.

A key priority within the strategy is to further improve citizens' living standards and provide sustainable job opportunities for all, he added in the statement.

During the meeting, Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the EDB, said that over the past 12 months its promotions in target markets - including in China and Germany - have resulted in a "number of significant business agreements and attracted international investment that will support substantial job creation".

He added that continued diversification efforts have led to stable economic growth, which is forecast to reach 3.6 percent 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.

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