Bahrain on the globe (Afro-Eurasia centered)

Bahrain was the 96th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP in 2018. Its GDP per capita was $24,051 USD. It is made up of 33 small islands in the Persian Gulf. It is highly dependent on oil and gas but is a growing financial centre. It was ranked 47th in the World Bank's Human Capital Index in 2017. It is a member of the GCC. Services was the largest economic sector in 2018 (55.3 percent of GDP), followed by manufacturing (17.6 percent), and agriculture (0.29 percent). In 2017, the largest export sectors were services (57.9 percent), minerals (21.7 percent), and metals (11.6 percent). The largest individual exports were insurance and finance (27 percent), travel and tourism (18.6 percent), refined petroleum (18.5 percent), and ICT services (11.2 percent). Its largest export partners were the UAE (27.9 percent), USA (11.9 percent), South Korea (4.5 percent), Japan (4.35 percent), South Africa (4.26 percent), and India (4.24 percent). The largest goods imports were cars (8.11 percent), and jewellery of precious metals (7.36 percent). After the expulsion of the Portuguese and several different local rulers, the current ruling family, the Al Khalifa, gained control of Bahrain in 1783. In 1861, it became a British protectorate and gained independence in 1971. In 1932, oil was discovered, marking the first discovery of oil in the Arabian Gulf. In 1948, natural gas was also discovered. However, the oil and gas reserves were relatively small forcing Bahrain to diversify much earlier than many of its neighbours. In 1968, Aluminium Bahrain (or Alba) was formed. Today it is among the largest producers of aluminium in the world with the largest single-site smelter. Bahrain has also developed a leading conventional and Islamic financial centre in the region. Its development began in 1975, with the issuing of off-shore baking licenses. Today, it is building on its legacy with its Fintech strategy held up as a model for the region. In 2018, 80bn barrels of shale oil was discovered off the west coast of Bahrain. The discovery greatly increases Bahrain's current reserves of 124m barrels and puts the country within the vicinity of the UAE's reserves (98bn barrels). The discovery has the potential to relieve much of the current fiscal pressure on Bahrain; public debt was 94.75 percent of GDP in 2018. In 2018, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait had provided a $10bn long-term aid package.

Its population in 2018 was 1,566,993 [1]

In 2015, 0.00% of its total energy
consumption was renewable [2]

In 2021, its GDP grew by 2.23% [2]

In 2021 it had a positive Current
Account Balance of US$bn 2.60 [3]

Its unemployment rate in 2021 was 6.60% [3]

Its Expenditure on R&D (as a percentage of
GDP) in 2014 was 0.10% [2]

A Big Mac will set you back the
local equivalent of US$3.18 [4]

What free trade areas or economic unions is it a member of?

Member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) since 25/05/1981

Other members:

Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

What trade deals are there between Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and other countries and economic unions?

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Singapore free trade agreement (from 01/11/2013)

EFTA - Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Free Trade Agreement (from 01/07/2014)

EFTA - Gulf Cooperation Council free trade agreement (from 01/07/2014)

What trade deals are there with other countries and economic unions?

Pan-Arab Free Trade Area (from 01/01/1998)

United States - Bahrain free trade agreement (from 01/08/2006)

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Trade with the United Kingdom

Source: UK Office for National Statistics, October 2022.

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