The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) has published the eighth issue of the journal "Derasat", which analyses security, defence and economic issues from a strategic perspective.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Sh. Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Derasat and the journal’s Editor-in-Chief said that October was the tenth anniversary of the launch of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, as a pioneering national document and a roadmap towards the future.
The launch of the Kingdom's vision followed four years of intensive and extensive discussions with a wide range of public and private opinion leaders, government and specialized institutions, as well as global advisory bodies, to move from an oil-based economy to a competitive, productive economy. Globally, the government sets its sights, and the private sector takes the lead in its development in accordance with the principles of sustainability, competitiveness and fairness, which are interdependent and balanced principles to ensure a dignified and secure life.
Over the course of a decade, the Kingdom of Bahrain has accomplished many achievements in various fields. This vision represents one of the initiatives of the reform project for leadership and prosperity. In essence, it reflects a common fundamental goal, which is to build a better life and includes several integrated aspects:
First, the most important investment is always the Bahraini citizen. His Majesty the King stresses that "the development of which if the citizen is not a target is useless ... because the citizen is the real wealth in the country," and should be the first beneficiary of the achievements of government, not only at the level of income, but also to promote the right to a safe environment and an adequate standard of living, as well as to provide ways and opportunities to ensure the citizen obtains basic requirements with quality services.
Second: Achieving high rates of growth and increasing the national income from the non-oil sectors in a dynamic, renewable economy that is self-sustaining and capable of diversifying the base of its activities and benefiting from the Kingdom's competitive advantages. It is accompanied by infrastructure, services and legislation that conform to international standards, which are priorities of government plans and programs, and the objectives of the government forum.
At the same time, there are challenges related to the level and size of employment and skills required, the development of institutional performance, the high level of regional competition, and the global economic crises, which are to be dealt with efficiently and effectively, and transformed into real opportunities based on raising the efficiency of human resource management in the public sector, along with the private sector, and strengthen the governance of the civil service system, under a clear and transparent government regulatory system.
Third: Creating a climate conducive to leadership and innovation, and ensuring Bahrain has a foothold in the global knowledge economy. The Kingdom has succeeded in establishing a culture of entrepreneurship, developing emerging industries and overcoming obstacles to enhance its advanced position in the new economic and technical fields such as financial, technological, logistic, information and communication services, including the adoption of the legislative framework for financial technology, the pilot environmental control initiative, the agreement to launch the first specialized center in the field of financial technology, and the Amazon Web Services Summit.
Fourthly, Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 has not overlooked the social dimension by strengthening the foundations of a cohesive society that is proud of its identity and belonging. The Tamkeen Labor Fund is launching quality projects in the fields set by the Economic Development Board in an ideal environment, youth, women, and those in need of guarantee and solidarity. There are insurance projects against disruption, human resource development, training and vocational training. There are 75 institutions, 9 professional and technical centers, 66 administrative and commercial centers.
The Kingdom of Bahrain now has a great legacy of success and investment trust, a record of remarkable achievements and tremendous aspirations for the future. It is enough to point to several indicators to illustrate the impact of Bahrain's economic vision 2030 on the march of the country's progress. In recent years, the Kingdom of Bahrain has witnessed record economic growth rates. GDP at constant prices rose to BD 11.9 billion in 2016 due to the growth of the non-oil economic sectors, contributing more than 80% of GDP. In the areas of financial services, the number of financial and banking institutions increased to 398 financial institutions, banks and insurance companies. The aluminium and petrochemical industries, developed the Kingdom's position as a regional tourist and commercial hub, was strengthened.
Bahrain's economy ranked first in the Arab world and in the region, according to the Index of Economic Freedom issued by the Heritage Foundation of America, and ranked 18th in the world in 2016, and second in the Arab World in the Ease of Doing Business 2018 issued by the World Bank, in the United Nations Infrastructure Index. The number of new foreign investment projects received in the Kingdom of Bahrain rose to 637 projects at a cost of $35 billion. In terms of attracting direct investments, it was $ 733 million in the previous year, more than twice the amount invested in 2016, employing 16,677 Bahrainis by the end of October 2017. The overall unemployment rate is only 4%, which makes Bahrain the fastest growing economy in the Gulf region.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has become a hub for many regional and international exhibitions and conferences, such as the Bahrain International Air Show, the Bahrain International Defense and Jewellery Exhibition and Conference.
The submission by the Kingdom of Bahrain of its first voluntary report on the implementation of sustainable development goals 2030 to the United Nations Economic and Social Council's High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development recently highlighted the Kingdom's successes in supporting UN efforts in implementing the MDGs agenda.
We at the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) pride ourselves on the fact that the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 is a key pillar and inspiration in shaping the mission's vision, and objectives. It has established an effective structure, cumulative building and rules to ensure an advanced level of readiness and efficiency, competitiveness and justice. Derasat also presents itself as a strategic partner and ally of national institutions and bodies to serve these principles.
Our celebration of a decade since the launch of the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 is a celebration of the fact that the Kingdom of Bahrain, under the leadership of His Majesty the King, is on the right path with a clear and unambiguous vision to achieve sustainable development and promote a comprehensive renaissance.
The journal has four main sections. In the Studies section, the journal is presented with a study entitled "European-Gulf relations against the background of Brexit from the European Union", which deals with a historical background on British-European relations with the Gulf States, that address the future of Gulf-British relations following the British decision to leave the European Union.
The section entitled "The Arabian Gulf and the Middle East in the strategies of national security of the major powers and regional organizations" includes four of these strategies, the US strategy and the Russian strategy, as well as the strategy of NATO and the European Union. The national security strategies are of great importance as they are security charters that first determine the vision of these countries or organizations for the reality and future of security threats facing them, and secondly define their vision to deal with these challenges and most importantly the location of the Gulf region and the Middle East have been addressed by a number of academics who specialize in those issues.
The regional section contains two contributions on the issue of energy, whether from a security or economic perspective. From a security perspective, the section included a comprehensive analysis of energy security in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the future of threats to navigation in that strait, especially by the Houthi militias in Yemen. The economic sector is a model with the main idea of this contribution being that many governments in a number of countries of the world have been providing government support for some commodities and so on, provided to its citizens those basic ones, especially, but this type of policy is mainly based on the financial capacity of the state.
The journal also included a number of strategic reports and books presented by Derasat researchers on important topics: the impact of artificial intelligence on the possibility of nuclear war, US defence policy in 2018, Russian policy in the Middle East, the civil war in Syria, the organisation of the Gulf Gate Forum by the Kingdom of Bahrain in May this year and promising investment opportunities.
A semi-annual journal headed by Dr. Sh. Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Derasat and Editor, Dr. Ashraf Keshk.