Bahraini economists and businessmen said that 2014 was teeming with numerous economic accomplishments locally, which covered a vast array of sectors, and they expressed their optimism that the new year (2015) will also be full of economic activities and the launching of more investments and quality projects both in the oil and non-oil economic sectors.
They told Bahrain News Agency (BNA) that one of the key events in 2014 was the announcement of the King Hamad Causeway project to link between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)'s conducting honest, transparent elections and the formation of is new board of directors, the launching of a series of property development projects in the Kingdom, the successful underwriting of Zain-Bahrain, the development of the Bahrain Bourse (BHB) regulations aimed to optimize trading.
Early in the year 2014, the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications cum Economic Development Board (EDB)'s Acting CEO Kamal bin Ahmed had announced that the implementation of a bundle of investment projects worth a total capital investment of $ 22 billion are underway in the Kingdom in the upcoming four years. These projects will bolster the national economy and push forward the wheel of development which will reflect positively on the livelihood of Bahraini citizens in addition to boosting the Kingdom's position as a competitive commercial hub in the region. These projects cover new industrial, infrastructure, services and touristic investment projects, including the development of the Bahrain International Airport, Al-Jazayer beach, Durrat Al-Bahrain investment projects, Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) company, the modernization of Bahrain Refinery for Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco).
Also, work is underway in the modernization project at the Bahrain International Airport to increase intake capacity from 9 million passengers to more than 14 million passengers per year in addition to several other installations at the Bahrain International Airport.
Also, Jawad Al-Hawaj, the second deputy chairman of the BCCI, said that the year 2014 has seen a notable improvement in commercial markets, which reflected positively on national economic performance and will lead to many more years of economic boom. Al-Hawaj hailed the recent visits of His Majesty the King to a number of friendly Asian countries which reflect the insightful vision of cementing economic cooperation bonds with emerging markets which record globally high rates of growth, including industrial, agricultural, food and services fields which will have the greatest impact on boosting the level of commerce with the Asian continent.
Al-Hawaj added that the year 2014 was characteristically known for the announcement of the second causeway between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – i.e. the King Hamad Causeway – which will be a quality shift in terms of passenger and cargo transportation between both countries and the region as a whole, as one of the most advanced land points of entry/exit in the Middle East and the world.
Al-Hawaj also said that the year 2014 saw the 28th round of BCCI elections which culminated in the winning of 4 women and several new faces, to continue the supportive policy of Bait Al-Tijjar to the local business community members and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in addition to boosting the bilateral commercial ties with sisterly and friendly countries and attraction of more overseas investments into the local market.
Al-Hawaj also said that the boom in the exhibition industry in the Kingdom in the year 2014 was another clue to the attractiveness and ability of the local market to hosting many specialized exhibitions and conferences in various fields.
Also, the chairman of the Bahrain Society of Real Estate Agents Nasser Al-Ahli said that the year 2014 has been the year of property legislation accomplishment, citing the issuance of 4 edicts related to property leasing, development and registration and the solving of stalled projects problems.
Also, Nasser Al-Ahli the chairman of the Bahrain Scoeity of Real Estate Agents considered the year 2014 as the beginning of gradual return of active property trade which exceeded BD 1,100 million as the number of attractive areas have increased regarding the purchasing of residential units and office space. He added that easy procedures to establish commercial companies and establishments in the local market and the incentives and facilitations to all investors to establish more companies in various economic domains and activities and the implementation of new policy regarding granting entry visas to citizens of more than 60 countries in addition to 36 countries whose citizens can obtain online visas led to curbing restrictions on entry to the Kingdom.
Economic affairs expert Dr. Yousef Al-Mish'al said that the year 2014 was the year of economic recovery in Bahrain from the global economic and financial crunch as the country recorded improvement in its overall gross domestic product (GDP) averages, stressing that now the Bahraini economy stands on strong foundations despite the fluctuations and has not reached the brink of collapse like some countries around the world.
Dr. Al-Mish'al pointed out that the launching by the Bahrain Bourse of its new trading regulations and the underwriting of Zain- Bahrain were two of the best things that happened in the financial sector in addition to the readiness of financial institutions operating in Bahrain to apply the Basil III new criteria for capital efficiency. He added that numerous tourism projects were established, topped by the Four Seasons Hotel which is one of Bahrain's milestones in addition to Avenues recreation project in Bahrain Bay.