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Bahrain: Non-oil sector grows by 3.7% in 2016

Annual growth in the construction (5.7%) and finance (5.2%) sectors, coupled with "unprecedented" infrastructure investment, led to non-oil growth in the kingdom

Non-oil sectors drove growth in Bahrain's economy last year [representational image].
Non-oil sectors drove growth in Bahrain's economy last year [representational image].

Non-oil sectors, driven by "unprecedented levels of infrastructure investment", contributed to Bahrain's overall economic growth of 3% in 2016, according to latest figures released by the kingdom's Economic Development Board (EDB).

The country's non-oil sector grew by 3.7%, EDB's Bahrain Economic Quarterly states. 

Bahrain's economic growth in 2016 was 2.9% higher than corresponding 2015 figures, "and came in spite of significant regional and global headwinds", the report adds. 

Non-oil growth in the country, up from 3.6% in 2015, was driven by sectors such as finance, which grew by 5.2% during the year, and construction which grew by 5.7%.

READ: Bahrain’s Alba to secure $400m for Line 6 Expansion

The volume of active projects under the GCC Development Fund has doubled from $1.6bn in Q1 2016 to $3.2bn in February 2017, thus contributing to infrastructure development in the country. 

In a statement, EDB added: "Bahrain has a priority programme of $32bn (BHD12.1bn) of infrastructure projects, which are expected to continue to act as counter-cyclical growth drivers.

"These projects include the $2.5bn (BHD942.8m) Alba Pot Line 6, an associated $800m (BHD301.7m) power station deal, the $1.1bn (BHD30.5bn) airport expansion project, and a new $355m (BHD133.8m) Banagas gas plant." 

READ: UAE to pay $918m of $1bn Bahrain airport expansion

These investments "underpin the expectation that non-oil growth will remain above 3% in 2017, despite ongoing region-wide fiscal consolidation", the statement added. 

Remarking on the report's findings, Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economic advisor to the EDB, said: "2016 was an encouraging year for Bahrain’s economy.

"We continue to see resilience in the non-oil sector and this resilience helps to underpin the economic stability for businesses and investors in the kingdom. 

"This is important because the economic transformation taking place in the region is creating exciting opportunities for businesses in the Gulf the coming years.

"We know that it is vital not just to maintain economic stability but also to continue to pursue the structural, legal and regulatory reforms that will make it easier for companies to access those opportunities," Kotilaine added. 

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