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The Economic Development Board under chairmanship of HRH the Crown Prince, is developing a comprehensive reform program for Bahrain, including labour market, economic, and education and training reform, to prepare the Kingdom to proactively address the challenges it will face over the coming decade.

Individual projects are developed based on the four core themes which will deliver a better economic environment for business:

  • From red tape to red carpet: creating a business-friendly environment.
  • Government as regulator not operator: reducing the role of government in the economy and allowing the private sector to drive growth.
  • Fairness and accountability: reforming the regulatory and judicial system and improving enforcement.
  • Stimulating private sector opportunities: launching targeted initiatives to stimulate private sector growth.

Each initiative has a project team and a project board, with each group comprising representatives from relevant public sector organizations (ministries, government agencies) and related private stakeholder groups, which leads the development of business-friendly policies.

Reform Objectives

Increase the size and wealth of the middle class

  • The performance of any developed economy is driven by the size and wealth of its middle class.
  • Bahrain aspires to increase the size and wealth of its middle class to that of other developed economies.
  • Increase families with middle income from 45% to 60% of society.
  • Double GDP per capita by 2015.


Increase competitiveness

  • Improved productivity is the long-term driver of increased wealth in all advanced economies.
  • Bahrain aspires to set its productivity improvement at among the best in the world.
  • Triple current rate of productivity improvement from 1.5% to 5% a year.
  • Increase GDP growth to 9% a year.

Economic Aspirations for the Kingdom of Bahrain

  • To re-capture Bahrain’s leadership position as the pre-eminent economy in the region.
  • To become the preferred place to create and grow a business, by both nationals and foreigners.
  • To achieve a more than two fold increase in income/capita by 2015.

Main Reform Themes

  1. Enabling the Private Sector
  • Removal of barriers to growth such as access to capital, land, judicial and legal infrastructures.
  • Specific sector initiatives to accelerate growth in strategic sectors.
  • Dedicated SME initiatives and investment promotion.
  1. Transforming government
  • Reducing red tape.
  • From owner-operator to facilitator.
  • Creating a modern civil service.
  1. Investing in people
  • Labour market reform.
  • Education system reform.

Economic Reform Projects

Labour Reform : Improving the labour market

Project objectives

  • Improve the appeal of Bahrainis as workers.
  • Reduce the economy's reliance on expatriate labour at the expense of Bahraini jobs.
  • Get the labour market fit for the future.

Scope of work

  • Comprehensive labour reform law enacted by the parliament.
  • Creation of new, transparent Labour Market Regulatory Authority to regulate expatriate labour.
  • Creation of Labour Fund to improve skills levels of Bahrainis.


Education Reform : Improving education

Project objectives

To launch national education and training reform in Bahrain, spanning public and private sectors and all education levels (primary/secondary, vocational, tertiary).

Scope of work

  • Diagnose the existing system (primary/secondary, vocational, tertiary).
  • Agree attributes of 'student of the future'.
  • Launch national education dialogue with public and private sector through a series of workshops.
  • Develop overall education blueprint and detailed migration plan.


Business start-up : Stimulating new business

Project objectives

  • Simplify the process of starting a new business.
  • Streamline and simplify licensing requirements.
  • Reduce cost of starting a business.
  • Improve service level of all authorities.
  • Enhance efficiency and transparency of the business start-up process.

Scope of work

  • Reduce number of business activities requiring pre-approval or license.
  • Introduce public targets for processing of all business start-up applications.
  • Simplify commercial registry fee structure into low, flat fees.
  • Publish a complete guide to include all regulations, procedures, requirements targets as well as a list of restricted activities.


Land Master plan : Access to land

Project objectives

Create a master plan for the Kingdom of Bahrain for the next 25 years. The project will be the physical manifestation of the EDB's economic plan.

Scope of work

Set up a comprehensive plan for the next 25 years to use all the lands and the coastal areas that are located within the kingdom territories. The plan will be the key element to implement all the economic, housing, and industrial, as well as any other development plans that aim to secure a better future for the new generations.

Tourism : Attracting tourism

Project objectives

To stimulate the development of Bahrain's tourism industry to be one of the key drivers in term of GDP and employment through the creation of a vision for a national tourism strategy and master plan.

Scope of work

  • Develop and syndicate tourism vision and roadmap by building on earlier economic reform work.
  • Create a comprehensive tourism master plan.
  • Establish the Tourism Development Board.
  • Identify and execute high-impact, quick win initiatives in the tourism sector.


Bahrain Development Bank : Access to capital

Project objectives

Strengthen the role of the Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) to facilitate access to capital and extend opportunities of financing to small and medium sized enterprises.

Scope of work

  • Increase of capitalisation.
  • Focus on the target segment.
  • Increase the range of products and services.
  • Streamline and enhance the terms and conditions, processes and organisational setup.
  • Awareness building.


Page Last Updated on: 22 March, 2017