Stephen Harrison, Dr Yahya Alyahya,
Hassan Jarrar and Jamal Fakhro
Bahrain’s 2014 GDP seen at 3.7pc
Manama, December 1, 2013
Tourism and leisure business will be areas for Bahrain’s growth in 2014, with the financial sector being the key contributor to the GDP, which is expected to reach 3.7 per cent, said industry experts.
Four of the region’s influential business personalities and leaders in their respective fields analysed the business outlook for Bahrain and the wider region in the coming 12 months, providing insight on key industries.
The general consensus indicated that global economic activity will remain unsynchronized, but stronger support factors will improve prospects as fiscal austerity eases in the developed world and monetary conditions remain supportive.
Held exclusively at Capital Club Bahrain, the panel consisted of Dr Yahya Alyahya, CEO, Gulf International Bank, Hassan Jarrar, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Stephen Harrison, international advisor at Bahrain’s Economic Development Board; and Jamal Fakhro, managing partner, KPMG Fakhro, who moderated the event.
GDP growth in Bahrain in 2014, at 3.7 per cent, will be close to that of 2013 (3.9 per cent), which is high by most Western standards. Despite possible geo-political challenges, oil production will stabilize, and the service sector will lead the steady growth, said the industry experts.
Oil continues to be of significant interest for growth in Bahrain. The government budget is increasingly dependent on oil. A recent confirmation that Bapco and Aramco have agreed to substantially expand the pipeline linking both countries is welcome news for Bahrain, the expert said.
The outlook for oil-rich GCC and wider Mena is positive despite tensions in other parts of the region. Key priorities include the reform of the government role as a regulator, the reform of the economy, rationalized subsidies, and the creation of private sector employment.
Saudi Arabia’s economic prospects will remain robust in 2014 but tempered by global, regional and policy challenges, as well as risks volatile oil prices.
Strong and robust legal systems need to be developed in order to promote sustainable cross-border investments and trade flows.
On the subject of real estate reform, both the panelists and the audience agreed wholeheartedly that the reform of the real estate sector, which currently contributes approximately 15 per cent to Bahrain’s GDP, is critical.
“The general outcome of the session was very encouraging and overall atmosphere very positive as 2014 will bring steady growth for Bahrain,” Fakhro concluded. – TradeArabia News Service