Bahrain has announced plans to invest over $22 billion on infrastructure projects over the next four years, according to Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
Major infrastructure projects in the island kingdom include the Bahrain International Airport modernisation project, the development of Al Jazair Beach, projects in Durrat Al Bahrain, expansion of the aluminium smelter at state-owed Alba and a project being carried out by Bahrain Petroleum Company.
The government is also investing heavily in improving housing other and related infrastructure projects. Bahrain aims to build 40,000 new housing units along with investment in educational facilities to support the growth, EDB said.
“These are important investments that promise opportunities to international investors as well as strengthening connectivity with the region,” said Kamal bin Ahmed, minister of transportation and acting chief executive of the EDB.
“The infrastructure projects are part of a wider effort by the kingdom, which aim at diversifying the economy, as well as drawing quality investment, in order to support long term sustainable growth, create quality job opportunities, and increase the standards of living.”
Bahrain’s economy, which has suffered substantially from political unrest that began in 2011, has started to rebound strongly.
The country was named the freest economy in the region, according to the Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.
Bahrain has also been seeing a rise in foreign direct investments since last year. As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report, total foreign direct investment into Bahrain in 2013 amounted to $989 million, up 11 per cent on 2012, outpacing global average growth of nine per cent. This helped boost economic growth in the Gulf country
The Bahrain Economic Quarterly (BEQ) report, issued by the EDB, revealed that second quarter GDP growth reached 3.2 per cent in comparison to the first quarter. The Kingdom experienced economic year-on-year growth of 5.6 per cent in Q2 2014.
Meanwhile, total GDP growth for this year is expected to reach about 3.7 per cent, the report said.
In a bid to accelerate economic growth, Bahrain recently introduced a flexible visa policy that allows nationals from almost 100 countries to obtain an online visa either ahead of travel or on arrival.