Bahrain

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Government

Bahrain is a constitutional hereditary monarchy led by:

The King: His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

The Prime Minister: His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa

The Crown Prince: His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa

The system of governance is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial authorities and their cooperation under the provisions of this Constitution

Rule of Law

The Kingdom of Bahrain is a fully sovereign, independent Islamic Arab State whose population is part of the Arab nation. The system of the Kingdom of Bahrain is that of a hereditary constitutional monarchy.

The system of government in the Kingdom of Bahrain is democratic, sovereignty being in the hands of the people, the source of all powers.

Citizens, both men and women, are entitled to participate in public affairs and may enjoy political rights, including the right to vote and to stand for elections, in accordance with the Conditions stated in the Constitution.

History

The Kingdom of Bahrain is actually an archipelago of 33 islands in the Arabian Gulf that has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. Around 5000 years ago Bahrain was home to the Bronze Age civilization of Dilmun, which lasted some two millenia. Since then Bahrain has been occupied alternately by Babylonians, Sumerians, Greeks, Persians, Portuguese, and Turks, among others.

The Dilmun Empire

The Dilmuns were powerful and influential people. Situated along popular trade routes between southern Iraq and India and Pakistan, Dilmun was a center of business, a tradition Bahrain still holds dear as a financial hub of the Middle East.
In the fourth century BC, Nearchus, a general in the army of Alexander the Great, explored Bahrain, when it was known by the Greek name Tylos. Greek writer Pliny commented on Tylos’ beautiful pearls in his writing in the first century AD.

The Onset of Christianity and Islam

In the 3rd or 4th centuries AD many people living in Bahrain adopted the Christian faith. Nestorian Church records show that Bahrain was an established seat of its religion prior to and during the early years of Islam.
When Islam made its  first forays into Arabia, Bahrain was one of the first parts to accept the new religion. In 640 AD, the Prophet Mohammed wrote the ruler of Bahrain inviting him to adopt Islam. A peaceful adoption of Islam occurred and for two centuries Christians and Muslims lived together in Bahrain. Bahrain still has a small indigenous Christian community. 
In 1487 the Omanis conquered Bahrain and erected a fort whose ruins still exist and Portuguese also entered the scene until 1602 when Bahrainis themselves drove them from their island and then invited Persians in for protection. In 1783, The Al-Khalifa family arrived from Kuwait and drove out the Persians. The Al Khalifas rule the land benevolently to this day.
The Twentieth Century

In 1932 oil was found in Bahrain, the first discovery of oil on the Arab side of the Gulf. The reserve, however, is relatively small. Accordingly, Bahrain has moved judiciously through the twentieth century, diversifying its economy and nurturing international business relationships.
In 1968, an agreement ended a century as a British protectorate and, by 1971, Bahrain earned total independence. Today, Bahrain is a model of stability. In 2000, as promised, the Amir inaugurated a new era of democracy in Bahrain. October of that year witnessed substantial political reforms. Citizens voted in elections that established a bi-cameral parliament. In 2001, women voted for the first time. Bahrainis today enjoy a greater voice in the laws that govern them—an uncommon freedom in the Gulf.

Culture

The Kingdom of Bahrain holds a unique place thanks to its geographic location in the Arabian Gulf and to its deep-rooted history of powerful civilizations. Both elements have blessed with one of the most liberal cultural heritages worldwide, making it, throughout the ages, a safe home for ethnically diverse inhabitants.
Bahrain is thus distinguished by its rich history and famous civilizations that span more than 5,000 years. Its pluralistic identity and its generous contributions to the world’s civilizations have made it a shining cultural and intellectual centre and an oasis of mutual tolerance and peaceful coexistence among cultures and religions.
It also enjoys an excellent regional and international reputation with regard to its efforts that aim to establish regional and global peace thanks to the pioneering initiatives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Seeking to enhance its cultural and civilized achievements and provide a legislative and institutional framework, Bahrain in 2015 established the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), chaired by Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, as a subsidiary authority reporting to the Cabinet.
The BACA carries out all the tasks relating to the protection and development of culture, national heritage, antiquities and museums as well as to encouraging art and theatre activities that used to be carried out by the Ministry of Culture and other official bodies. BACA also aims to promote the Kingdom’s deep-rooted history, impressive civilizations and rich cultures by organizing annual festivals and cultural, intellectual and artistic activities. 

Economy

Along with competitive costs, easy access to the rest of the Middle East, and a well-established business infrastructure, the Kingdom of Bahrain has a great deal of experience in understanding the needs of foreign businesses and responding to them. Bahrain regards foreign investment as key to its Economic Vision 2030 long-term plan for improving the competitiveness of our economy, creating skilled jobs for Bahrainis and enhancing living standards. For this reason, Bahrain is committed to building on our existing advantages, aiming to build the Middle East’s most attractive centre for business.

The 2030 Economic Vision

The 2030 Economic Vision, launched by His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa in October 2008 embodies a comprehensive vision for the Kingdom of Bahrain that aims at creating a clear approach to develop the kingdom’s economy while focusing on the main objective which is to improve the standard of living of all Bahraini citizens. The vision was launched after four years of elaborate discussions with a group of decision makers in the public and private sectors including government institutions and concerned entities in addition to a number of think tanks and international institutions. The 2030 Economic Vision focuses on crystallizing an integrated socio-economic government vision and focuses on three basic principles which are competitiveness, integrity and sustainability. After the launch of the vision, the Kingdom of Bahrain began an institutional economic reform program that is in line with the objective of the 2030 Economic Vision. This led to the preparation of a national economic strategy that represents a roadmap to achieve the vision. This strategy is continuously revised to adapt to the international changes and the government’s work program.

National Development Strategy

The Government has developed a National Economic Strategy for the planning period of 2008-2014 to guide the direction of the economy and Government. It illustrated the links between government policies, identified key initiatives to be implemented over the planning period, assigned responsibility for the initiatives, and outlined the actions necessary to achieve them. Since the 2030 Economic Vision and the accompanying National Economic Strategy were adopted by the Kingdom, much progress has been achieved in reforming Bahrain’s economy and in increasing the effectiveness of Government institutions. In light of experience and changing circumstances, National Development Strategy (2015-2018) represents the next step in Bahrain’s journey toward the attainment of the Vision, as it outlines the medium-term strategic direction of the country in the 2015-2018 planning period.

Editor: lishen