The Business Year

HE Dr. Hassan Abdulla Fakhro

QATAR - Diplomacy

Center of Affairs

Minister of Industry and Commerce, the Kingdom of Bahrain


HE Dr. Hassan Abdulla Fakhro has an academic background in Engineering and Economy and is currently the Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Kingdom of Bahrain. In terms of work experience, he has a background in the oil industry, having worked in Bahrain and the US, before being tasked by the government of Bahrain to establish the Bahrain National Oil Company (BANOCO). He also participated in the creation of the Bahrain National Gas Company (BANAGAS) and participated in the founding of the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company. He has been in his current position since 2005, prior to which he was Minister of Industry and, before that, Advisor to HM the King of Bahrain on Economic Affairs.

What factors are behind the rapid development of Bahrain’s industrial and commercial sectors? Bahrain has the most central location in the GCC region and is more outward looking and open […]

What factors are behind the rapid development of Bahrain’s industrial and commercial sectors?

Bahrain has the most central location in the GCC region and is more outward looking and open minded toward the attaining of its economic, cultural, and technological development. Over the course of her long and colorful history, the Kingdom of Bahrain has served as a gateway between trading nations and civilizations. This is reflected in the attitudes of both people and government, as they strive to overcome obstacles concerning welfare, prosperity, and progress. Bahrain’s drive toward industrialization and economic development testifies to this fact. Consistent, flexible, and rewarding programs were adopted in the late 1960s to establish and foster a viable industrial base. It was the first in the region to attract oil exploration investments and discovery and the first to achieve public education, health, social, and financial services. Lacking any sizable agricultural or oil resources prompted Bahrain’s early embracing of economic diversification. Both the manufacturing and service sectors gained early attention and priority, and have consequently yielded the highest share of the nation’s GDP and employment opportunities.

Manama was named the Capital of Arab Tourism in 2013 and it hosted the International Conference on Exploring New Cultural Horizons for Tourism, receiving 6.7 million of visitors in 2011, almost 50% of them from Saudi Arabia. What role do you envisage for the sector in Bahrain as a stable growth driver?

The Bahrain tourism strategy envisages the improvement and expansion of tourism infrastructure, facilities, and attractions, with the active participation and involvement of the private sector. The enlargement of the King Fahd causeway to Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries will be complemented by the new causeway connection to Qatar, and supported by the GCC railroad network. Such logistical improvements will easily double the tourism inflows to Bahrain.

Bahrain is ranked the 12th most open economy worldwide by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal’s 2013 Index of Economic Freedom. How does this promote the development of the economy and what actions for further openness do you plan?

Bahrain is the most diversified economy in the Gulf region and has achieved this by maintaining an investor-friendly environment and adopting a policy of open markets. There is zero taxation, no exchange control, and 100% foreign ownership permitted in all activities. Bahrain is also undertaking serious and sound steps toward the materialization of its economic strategy and its Economic Vision 2030, through which it hopes to achieve competitiveness, sustainability, and fairness objectives. Moreover, Bahrain has the best legal and regulatory infrastructure in the region, and our new Commercial Companies Law will be one of the most progressive in the world—we most certainly have the most stable and supportive political environment and world-class infrastructure that provides good logistics in terms of communications and transport. Our workforce, which has been nurtured over the years by substantial government investment in the education and health systems, is healthy, educated, and willing, and we have also used our excellent foreign relations, such as with other GCC countries, the US, Singapore, and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries, to expand our internal market by means of FTAs.

“ Bahrain is the most diversified economy in the Gulf region. “



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