A Bahrain delegation including senior figures from Government, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat) and private sector today arrived at the Dead Sea, Jordan for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World.
Several members of the delegation will be speaking at the WEF event, which has been described by the organisers as a chance for Governments and decision makers in the region ‘to address the fundamental conditions required to revive growth and provide the jobs that are needed to accelerate human development’.
Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Deputy Chairman of Mumtalakat, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed is leading the delegation alongside Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Economic Development Board and Member of Parliament, Isa Al Kooheji, MP.
Members of the Bahrain business community are also accompanying the delegation. They include Talal Al Zain, CEO, Mumtalakat, Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO, Batelco Group; Dr. Mohammed Al Amer, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA); Mr. Abdul Razaq A. Hassan Al Qassim, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain; Samer Majali, CEO, Gulf Air; Khalid Al Ameen, Director of Ali Rashid Al Amin Co. BSC, Board Member of Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Hasan Haidar, CEO, Tenmou, Bahrain’s first business angels company.
Discussing the WEF special meeting, Shaikh Mohammed said: “2011 has been a challenging year for the global economy and events in the region have made this impact more pronounced. This event provides an opportunity to examine how we can, as individual states, and collectively, harness the enormous potential that exists within our young populations to drive future economic growth to the benefit of all in our societies. By examining ways to foster greater entrepreneurial endeavour and enhance education standards, while strengthening economic gains, we can seize the opportunities that this period of change affords us.
“Despite the challenges this year has presented, Bahrain’s economy has demonstrated resilience. As a nation, we are entering a new chapter of reform built upon the key economic fundamentals established over the past ten years, and part of our focus will be on boosting opportunities for all and building upon existing successes to create an ever more entrepreneurial and dynamic business culture.”
The overall theme of the WEF Special Meeting ties in closely with the current objectives of the Economic Development Board as Bahrain emerges from a period of reduced growth. Bahrain is still forecast to achieve around 2% growth in 2011, and the economy is expected to rebound strongly with economic growth in 2012 forecast by independent analysts at around 4%, despite the wider global economic slowdown.
Bahrain has sought to be at the forefront of economic development and modernisation – it is the most liberal business environment in the MENA region - and it has invested heavily in education, producing a highly skilled domestic workforce able to succeed in an increasingly diverse national economy. Its approach is enshrined in Bahrain’s Vision 2030, the blueprint for the development of the country’s economy over the coming decades.
EDB-led reforms to the education system – the first to be established in the Gulf – continue to drive improvements. These are in line with the requirements of international business and form part of the wider activity to boost economic growth and job creation over the coming years ahead
Members of the delegation will be speaking at keynote sessions at the WEF Special Meeting on themes including the investment outlook for the MENA region following social, political and economic developments in 2011, and ways to encourage greater entrepreneurship in the region to meet the growing requirement for youth employment.