The confrontation between the government of Bahrain and major opposition groups continue. There is growing apprehension that violence will escalate as police have been making a lot of arrests and raids. On the other hand, the government is seeking to enact more stringent laws against militants clamouring for political reforms. There have been international efforts to patch up differences between the two protagonists but hardliners on both sides refuse to budge.
Last year, almost a hundred civilians perished in a disturbance that has been rumbling for the past three years. Leaders of al-Wafaq, the largest group in the opposition alliance plan to file a complaint against the behaviour of Bahrain's security forces with the United Nations. As a result, diplomats and political observers believe that the political scene in Bahrain will remain unstable until 2018 due to protests against the rule of the Al Khalifa royal clan.
The government under Prime Minster Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa (longest-serving PM in the whole world) maintains that the government will use an iron hand in coping with the strife. Hence, sporadic initiatives to pursue a dialogue with the opposition will most probably fail to make significant progress in the short-term. Economic growth has slowed down to 3.7 percent this year from 3.9 percent in 2013.
Nonetheless, Bahrain has developed over the past decade mainly because of its liberal economic policies. The Central Informatics Organisation says Bahrain’s yearly real GDP growth ranged between 3.1% and 8.4% over the period. The Economic Vision 2030 is a roadmap for making Bahrain a more sustainable, competitive and fair economy. The goal is to double household income within the next 20 years. The government believes that the National Economic Strategy will be the key to turn this Vision into reality.
Population. Ranked 156th in 2013.
GDP per capita. Ranked 41st in 2011.
710 sq km
Sq. km. Ranked 174th in 2008.