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Bahrain

.. are some of the most noticeable aspects of society. Education The Ministry of Education in Bahrain is the official authority for running and administering the governmental educational institutions and supervising private education. The Ministry mission is represented in ensuring education for all, and improving its quality and standard to meet the learners, the national development requirements and the labor market needs. It will ultimately develop the integrated-balanced personality of the Bahrain good citizen who is able to think and has belief in the Islamic faith and belonging to the Arab nation and international family. As directed by the political leadership, the Ministry of Education is concerned with the modernization of educational institutions in the country, providing all the material and moral requirements.

It believes that human resources represent the main and absolute element in achieving the overall development in all fields. Therefore, the Ministry of Education has been interested in the continuous educational development, activating the school role, strengthening society’s confidence in it, linking it with labor and production sector, and making education more relevant to the Bahrain society and more effective to participate in achieving the national objectives. The Ministry also has made its efforts in guiding education to be in conformity with the world rapid development, getting ready for the 21st century and facing the technological-scientific development through the preparation of Bahrain citizens to live their coming era with its technological and knowledgeable challenges, confidently and enthusiastically. Therefore, all the necessary powers and abilities were directed, modern technology was initially introduced to the Ministry’s schools represented in using computers as a teaching-learning tool. Plans were set to eradicate students, administrators, teachers’ computer illiteracy, and have been implemented since 1998/99.

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Recently, an ambitious project to introduce Internet in schools was launched to utilize the Internet in activating the connection and gaining knowledge and information efficiently. It helps to push teaching and learning ahead. The Objectives of the Education Programs To secure educational opportunities for children in poor communities, in order that they can improve their future prospects. Providing university education for students within target groups throughout the world. Confronting illiteracy in the developing communities. Educational Projects Building and financially supporting educational institutions from kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, up to colleges and universities.

Sponsoring teachers and paying their salaries and other related benefits. Sponsoring students at various levels, including post-graduate studies. The program provides training for teachers at various grades, and boarding facilities for students. Bahrain Business Climate Bahrain began to diversify its industry from simple oil production into petroleum refining, petrochemicals, downstream industries, manufacturing, ship repair, and services in the late 1960’s. Their aim was to accelerate economic growth and to provide more employment for Bahrainis. In 1995 the workforce was 272,100, of which only 40% were Bahraini. There was also a 12% unemployment rate (5,100 persons) in 1995.

The government is responsible for and unprecedented series of industrial development and employment initiatives. These initiatives have been further strengthened and enhanced by legislation allowing 100% foreign ownership to onshore companies and a more equitable agency law. The government has also encouraged private sector investment by maintaining its commitment to zero taxes on corporate and personal income. There would be no world-class multinational company to consider a major investment anywhere unless the infrastructure was in place. Bahrain has easy access to an enormous regional market through an excellent road system and a causeway linking Bahrain with eastern Saudi Arabia.

The island state has become the international financial services capital of the Middle East. Most major Arab financial institutions have offices in Bahrain, as do many international banks, branches of foreign insurance companies and exempt companies trading offshore. The country is also an international and regional wholesale inter-bank money market centered on its offshore banking sector, which was first established in 1975 with assets equaling $70 million US dollars. Bahrain has a firm but flexible regulatory environment, directed by the Bahrain Monetary Agency. The Bahraini dinar is freely convertible and stable currency, firmly linked to the US dollar.

Bahrain has also had mostly a consistent stock exchange in recent years. The gross volume of shares increased from 62 million in 1989 to nearly 400 million in 1993. Servicing the financial and business sectors is a digital telecommunication system as advanced as any in the world. Services include exclusive private channels, access to international databases and the Internet plus specially developed communication systems for bank treasury options. Recently there has been a major push to attract information technology companies.

World class computer and software companies such as Silicon Graphics and Digital Equipment have chosen Bahrain as their regional base for sales and support operations. By attracting such businesses and investment to Bahrain, the government can point to ten purpose-built industrial areas accommodating over 500 different manufacturing and service companies. Bahrain is a key player in world financial and banking services. Its strategic location between east and west time zones and its advanced digital telecommunications systems enable it to communicate with all financial and business centers during the day. The country is an international and regional wholesale interbank money market centered on its offshore banking sector.

The offshore financial sector today has assets of some US $70 billion and the daily foreign exchange turnover of all Bahrain’s financial institutions totals some US $4 billion. International law firms, insurance companies, certified public accountants, management and public relations consultants, financial analysts, and advisers are all represented in the well-integrated services sector. This has of course stimulated the evolution of other related financial establishments including the Bahrain Stock Market, the money exchange sector, the real estate and construction business, and other commercial enterprises. Bahrain is home to some 90 commercial banks, investment houses and offshore banking units (OBUs). There are also over 50 representative offices, money and foreign exchange brokers, and about 60 local, foreign, and exempt insurance companies. Bahrain’s economy is estimated to be growing at a rate close to 5% with financial services now accounting for some 18 % of all economic activity.

Banks are investing in major projects and lending at an ever-increasing pace to investors. The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) is the force behind the moves to improve the already high reputation of Bahrain in banking circles. The BMA maintains sound reporting and accounting arrangements, which strictly adhere to the best international practice. It conforms to international standards in the area of supervision and focuses increasingly on the quality rather than the quantity of bank assets. Bahrain has never had to revoke a banking license and has avoided the severe losses, which have occurred in some other financial centers.

Because no financial sector can ever be immune to external happenings, the BMA announced a Deposit Protection Scheme. Under this scheme, the commercial bank deposits of both residents and non-residents, in local or foreign currency, will be protected up to a prescribed level in the event of the liquidation of a bank operating in Bahrain. The concept of protection was further enhanced by issuing a regulation relating to the licensing, regulation and supervision of advisers providing investment and other financial advice in or from Bahrain. This protects investors from the possibility of negligence or fraud. Economic prosperity both in Bahrain and the Gulf is now firmly established as a fact. Private sector growth and its future potential have been augmented as the government’s dominant role declines. Internationally, the investment community has become increasingly aware of the advantages of globalization and a sustained low inflationary growth.

These factors will surely give a major impetus to the financial services sector and help Bahrain to sustain its place as the financial capital of the Middle East for many years to come. With a safe and cosmopolitan lifestyle and mature industrial infrastructure, with industrial incentives unique to the region, with its reputation as a banking center, with a legal system geared to protection of capital and with its strategic location, Bahrain offers itself as a premier Middle East investment location. Government in Bahrain Bahrain is a traditional monarchy. Members of the al-Khalifa family hold the majority of key government positions. The emir is a respected leader, and the royal family is generally well liked in spite of growing distrust in the Shiite community. The country employs the traditional Islamic administrative system of the majlis , which allows people to petition the emir directly.

Bahrain has no legislature, political parties and elections are prohibited. Military in Bahrain Bahrain has several military branches: Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Police Force. A male is eligible for the military at the age of 15-49. The availability of military manpower is 220,670. Bahrain spends $276.9 million on military forces annually, which is 4.5% of the GDP.

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