Bahrain Economy Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker

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Bahrain has grown successfully over the past 10 years; due to its liberal economic policies and the clear roadmap that aims to achieve prosperity for the society. The country’s annual real GDP growth ranged between 2.1% and 8.3% over the period.

The international credit rating agency Standard & Poors (S&P) affirmed a credit rating of (BB-) for Bahrain with a stable outlook, supported by the positive developments that have been achieved over the past two years. The pace of economic activities which were reflected on public finances and increased government expenditures to contribute positively in achieving strong growth rates in all main sectors such as infrastructure, housing, health and education, recording 3.9% in 2016. Non-oil sectors, manufacturing industries, and the financial sector have achieved good growth rates during this period, which helped to sustain growth.

The pace of growth across the entire GCC region has moderated markedly as a result of government consolidation in a weaker oil price environment. While the prospect of cuts in oil production may delay a near-term pick-up, much of the regional non-oil economy have seen a clear acceleration in growth in 2017. Bahrain’s non-oil sector have expanded by 4.7% in the first half of 2017.

For more information about Bahrain economy, view the Bahrain Economic Quarterly issued by the Economic Development Board (EDB).

The 2030 Economic Vision

The 2030 Economic Vision, launched by His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa in October 2008 embodies a comprehensive vision for the Kingdom of Bahrain that aims at creating a clear approach to develop the kingdom’s economy while focusing on the main objective, which aspires to improve the living standards of all Bahraini Citizens.

The vision was launched after four years of elaborate discussions with a group of decision makers in the public and private sectors including government institutions and concerned entities in addition to a number of think tanks and international institutions. The 2030 Economic Vision focuses on crystallizing an integrated socio-economic government vision and focuses on three basic principles which are competitiveness, integrity and sustainability.

After the launch of the vision, the Kingdom of Bahrain began an institutional economic reform program that is in line with the objective of the 2030 Economic Vision. This led to the preparation of a national economic strategy that represents a roadmap to achieve the vision. This strategy is continuously revised to adapt to the international changes and the government’s work program.


National Development Strategy

The Government has developed a National Economic Strategy for the planning period of 2008-2014 to guide the direction of the economy and Government. It illustrated the links between government policies, identified key initiatives to be implemented over the planning period, assigned responsibility for the initiatives, and outlined the actions necessary to achieve them.

Since the 2030 Economic Vision and the accompanying National Economic Strategy were adopted by the Kingdom, much progress has been achieved in reforming Bahrain’s economy and in increasing the effectiveness of Government institutions.

In light of experience and changing circumstances, National Development Strategy (2015-2018) represents the next step in Bahrain’s journey toward the attainment of the Vision, as it outlines the medium-term strategic direction of the country in the 2015-2018 planning period.


Tourism & Sustainable Growth

The Kingdom of Bahrain, represented by the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority   has always stressed on the importance of shifting the tourism sector to be one of the main contributors to the economy. Bahrain has implemented measures that aim to increase the sector’s current contribution to the GDP to reach 7% by year 2018, in an aim to implement the government’s vision towards diversifying the economy of non-oil sectors and to highlight the Kingdom of Bahrain as a regional and global tourism hub.

The Kingdom has witnessed a significant improvement in the Tourism sector in 2015-2016 demonstrated by the increase in the number of visitors to Bahrain from 11.6 million visitors in 2015 to 12.3 million visitors in 2016, registering an annual growth rate of 6%. There was also an increase in the ratio of the number of hotel guests, which rose from 1.2 million guests to 1.3 million, recording an increase of 5%. The rise in the key indicators had a positive impact on the rate of tourist residency, recording an annual rise of 21.7% to reach 2.8 days from its previously recorded 2.3 days. This directly impacted the rate of tourism's contribution to the annual non-oil GDP of the Kingdom by 37%, which contributed to 4.6% of the non-oil GDP for 2015, increasing to the rate of 6.3% in 2016.

In order to ensure providing its services to citizens and tourists with the utmost level of quality, the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority launched its revamped website in 2016 along with mobile application “Bahrain Tour Guide” available on two platforms (Apple, Android).

Women’s Role in the Bahraini Economy

The Economic Development Board expects an annual 5% increase in the contribution of women in the Bahraini economy until 2020 to reached 45.6% compared to the current level.

According to statistics from the Information & eGovernment Authority, the number of Bahraini women joining both the private and public sectors reach 35.7% from the total workforce in 2015.

The education and health sectors continued to be favored by Bahraini women. However, the number of women working in the financial services, commerce and construction increased significantly. The relative growth in the number of working women is attributed to the rise in academic qualifications as the percentage of  women earning academic certification reached 60% out of the total graduates.

In the field of business and entrepreneurship, the commercial registrations owned by women have increased from 39% to almost 41%, an increase of 1.96% during the period (2010- June 2014). in addition, the commercial registrations that have been active for more than 5 years have reached 56% from the total active commercial registrations records.

For more information about women role in economy, education and other areas, read the Bahraini Women in Numbers – 2015 (PDF, 762KB, 36 pages) issued by the Supreme Council for Women.

The Economic Indexes for the Kingdom of Bahrain

The Index
The Value


58.4% (2010)

Current account

8.9% (2015)

Employment rate (the workforce as a percentage of the population between 20 and 64 years of age)

79.0% (2010)


89.7% (2010)


1,423,726 (2016)

Public sector debt (% of the gross domestic product)

37.6% (2015)

The gross domestic product in current prices

31.1 Billion US Dollars (2015)

The gross domestic product in fixed prices

30.8 Billion US Dollars (2015)

The growth in the gross domestic product the percentage growth for one year after the other

2.9% (2015)

The inflation in the consumer price index (100= 2006) annual change

3.3% (June 2013)

Unemployment rate

4.3% (2016)

Source: The Economic Development Board and the  Information & eGovernment Authority


The contribution of the various economic sectors in the gross domestic product (2015)

Contribution Percentage

Agriculture and fishing


Building and construction




Financial projects


Government services


Hotels and restaurants


Oil and natural gas


Processing industries


Real estate and business services


Social and personal services


Transport and telecommunications


Water and electricity


Source: The Information & eGovernment Authority

For more information please visit

The Economic Development Board

Value Added Tax (VAT)

The Value Added Tax (VAT) has been applied in the Kingdom of Bahrain starting from 1st of January 2019 at 5%. The National Bureau of Revenue is the government entity responsible for implementing and managing VAT in Bahrain, and is responsible for the registration of entities subject to VAT and the validation of VAT return filings and the related assessment. in addition to the payment of refunds, , collection of any amount due, auditing and processing of any appeal, and the monitoring and enforcement of compliance. In addition, the National Bureau of Revenue is competent to consider and decide upon grievances and to follow up and implement compliance with value added on an ongoing basis.

The final consumer pays the 5% VAT when purchasing any goods or services subject to the value added tax. In turn, companies pay the VAT collected from the consumer to the National Bureau of Revenue and recover the VAT paid to its suppliers.

The Value Added Tax will not be imposed on the following goods:

  • Basic food commodities
  • General Medical Services
  • Passenger transport services
  • Oil & Gas Sector
  • International Airline Tickets

Registration for VAT is phased so that companies within specific annual supply categories are required to register within specified dates. All companies and institutions that have reached or expected to reach their annual supplies between BHD. 37,500 (mandatory threshold) and BHD. 500,000 must register for value added by 20 December 2019.


For more information on VAT, visit the National Bureau of Revenue website

National Bureau of Revenue

Page Last Updated: 13 Jun, 2019