The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island situated in the East of Saudi Arabia, & ruled by the Al Khalifa Royal Family. Bahrain is connected with Saudi Arabia via King Fahad Causeway. It is split into five governorates: Capital, Central, Muharraq, Northern and Southern.
Manama is the capital of the country and Bahrain became independent on August 15, 1971, celebrating its National day on 16th of December.
The head of the state is His Majesty the King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, while the Prime Minister is His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa and the Crown Prince & Deputy Supreme Commander is His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Bahrain was known in ancient times as Dilmun. It was an important center of trade by the 3rd millennium B.C. In 1783 Ahmad Ibn Al-Khalifa took over, and the Al-Khalifas remain the ruling family today. Oil was discovered in 1930. H.H Sheikh Isa Bin Suliman Al-Khalifa , who became Emir in 1961 , was determined to diversify his country’s economy and he set about establishing Bahrain as a major financial center.
According to the latest local data Bahrain’s population stands at 1.2 million (GDN 7th February 2011). Bahrainis make up 46% of the total population while the remainder are expatriate workers (mostly from Asia), who make up about 54% of the economically active population.. The State religion is Islam and the literacy rate is 89%.
With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Petroleum production, refining and Aluminum account for over 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, over 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP (exclusive of allied industries), underpinning Bahrain's strong economic growth in recent years. Other major segments of Bahrain's economy are the financial, construction and tourism sectors. Bahrain is actively pursuing the diversification and privatization of its economy to reduce the country's dependence on oil.
Bahrain is one of the first oil-producing countries in the GCC. The country lies in a hydrocarbon-rich area. Unlike other Gulf States, Bahrain exports refined petroleum products rather than crude oil and Aluminum.
Bahrain's financial sector is well-developed and diversified. The sector has 408 Financial Institutes consisting of a wide range of conventional and Islamic financial establishments and markets, including retail and wholesale banks, specialized banks, insurance companies, finance companies, investment advisors, money changers, insurance brokers, securities brokers and mutual funds. There is also a stock exchange, listing and trading both conventional and Islamic financial instruments. The sector is therefore well-positioned to offer a wide range of financial products and services, making it the leading financial centre in the Gulf region.
The financial sector is the largest single employer in Bahrain, with Bahrainis representing over 80% of the work-force. Overall, the sector contributes 27% of Bahrain's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it one of the key drivers of growth in the country. The banking sector has played a pivotal role in the emergence of Bahrain as a leading financial center in the region.
Industrial growth has been supported by an open market economy, stable and prudent macro-economic and fiscal policies, a credible regulatory framework in line with international standards, and a notably strong and well qualified local workforce. All these factors have combined to cement Bahrain's position as a regional banking hub, successfully attracting foreign banking organizations to establish a physical presence in the country.