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  Introduction Back To Top

In 1783, the al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians. In order to secure these holdings, it entered into a series of treaties with the UK during the 19th century that made Bahrain a British protectorate. The archipelago attained its independence in 1971. Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa, after coming to power in 1999, pushed economic and political reforms to improve relations with the Shia community. Shia political societies participated in 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections. Al Wifaq, the largest Shia political society, won the largest number of seats in the elected chamber of the legislature. However, Shi'a discontent has resurfaced in recent years with street demonstrations and occasional low-level violence.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.3 cu km/yr (40%/3%/57%)
per capita: 411 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
0.1 cu km (1997)

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Map references:
Middle East

Geographic coordinates:
26 00 N, 50 33 E

Natural resources:
oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m

mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment

Geography - note:
close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean

total: 665 sq km
land: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia

161 km

Area - comparative:
3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
40 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, periods of drought, and dust storms; coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations; lack of freshwater resources (groundwater and seawater are the only sources for all water needs)

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined

Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; dust storms

Land use:
arable land: 2.82%
permanent crops: 5.63%
other: 91.55% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.53 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.36 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.1 male(s)/female
total population: 1.25 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
fewer than 600 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.92 years
male: 72.41 years
female: 77.5 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.5%
male: 88.6%
female: 83.6% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Bahraini 62.4%, non-Bahraini 37.6% (2001 census)

Median age:
total: 29.9 years
male: 33 years
female: 26.4 years (2008 est.)

note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.9% of GDP (1991)

Population growth rate:
1.337% (2008 est.)

Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Death rate:
4.29 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.64 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 16 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.4% (male 95,709/female 93,747)
15-64 years: 69.8% (male 288,957/female 212,706)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 14,224/female 12,963) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
17.26 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Muslim (Shia and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)

noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador J. Adam ERELI
embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: PSC 451, Box 660, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
telephone: [973] 1724-2700
FAX: [973] 1727-0547

National holiday:
National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection

20 years of age; universal

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Shia activists; Sunni Islamist legislators
other: several small leftist and other groups are active

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Houda Ezra Ibrahim NUNU
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 342-1111
FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
consulate(s) general: New York

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of the Consultative Council (40 members appointed by the King) and the Council of Representatives or Chamber of Deputies (40 seats; members directly elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of Representatives - last held November-December 2006 (next election to be held in 2010)
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by society - NA; seats by society - al Wifaq (Shia) 17, al Asala (Sunni Salafi) 5, al Minbar (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) 7, independents 11; note - seats by society as of February 2007 - al Wifaq 17, al Asala 8, al Minbar 7, al Mustaqbal (Moderate Sunni pro-government) 4, unassociated independents (all Sunni) 3, independent affiliated with al Wifaq (Sunni oppositionist) 1

Legal system:
based on Islamic law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
red, the traditional color for flags of Persian Gulf states, with a white serrated band (five white points) on the hoist side; the five points represent the five pillars of Islam

15 August 1971 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun

Political parties and leaders:
political parties prohibited but political societies were legalized per a July 2005 law

name: Manama
geographic coordinates: 26 14 N, 50 34 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

adopted 14 February 2002

Executive branch:
chief of state: King HAMAD bin Isa al-Khalifa (since 6 March 1999); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SALMAN bin Hamad (son of the monarch, born 21 October 1969)
head of government: Prime Minister KHALIFA bin Salman al-Khalifa (since 1971); Deputy Prime Ministers ALI bin Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, MUHAMMAD bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, Jawad al-ARAIDH
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Administrative divisions:
5 governorates; Asamah, Janubiyah, Muharraq, Shamaliyah, Wasat
note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor

Judicial branch:
High Civil Appeals Court

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 3.5%, US 2.5%, UAE 2.5%
note: data exclude oil exports (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
8.742 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$2.269 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$10.57 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
15% (2005 est.)

Oil - exports:
238,900 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$37,200 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
27.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$10.32 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$26.75 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$19.68 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Bahraini dinars (BHD) per US dollar - 0.376 (2008 est.), 0.376 (2007), 0.376 (2006), 0.376 (2005), 0.376 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$4.169 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 37.7%, Japan 7.2%, US 6.2%, Germany 4.7%, UK 4.5%, UAE 4.2%, China 4.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 43.6%
services: 56% (2007 est.)

Oil - imports:
221,500 bbl/day (2005)

$19.17 billion (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
11.33 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
Bahraini dinar (BHD)

Economy - overview:
With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Petroleum production and refining 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. Aluminum is Bahrain's second major export after oil. Other major segments of Bahrain's economy are the financial and construction sectors. Bahrain is focused on Islamic banking and is competing on an international scale with Malaysia as a worldwide banking center. Bahrain is actively pursuing the diversification and privatization of its economy to reduce the country's dependence on oil. As part of this effort, in August 2006 Bahrain and the US implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Continued strong growth hinges on Bahrain's ability to acquire new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are long-term economic problems. The global financial crisis is likely to result in slower economic growth for Bahrain during 2009 as tight international credit and a slowing global economy cause funding for many non-oil projects to dry up. Lower oil prices may also cause Bahrain's budget to slip back into deficit.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
crude oil, machinery, chemicals

petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, Islamic and offshore banking, insurance, ship repairing, tourism

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8.35% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$10.63 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
9.233 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$15.64 billion (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
124.6 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 79%
services: 20% (1997 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
92.03 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$4.865 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
32,830 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$9.52 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
33.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$15.2 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$28.13 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles

Economic aid - recipient:
$103.9 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
11.33 billion cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $7.226 billion
expenditures: $5.806 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
48,610 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
250,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
194,200 (2006)

275,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)

338,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.116 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
4 (1997)

Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system
domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones
international: country code - 973; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth station - 1 (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
2,621 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

gas 20 km; oil 52 km (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Mina' Salman, Sitrah

1 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 9
by type: bulk carrier 4, container 4, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Kuwait 5, UAE 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)

total: 3,498 km
paved: 2,768 km
unpaved: 730 km (2003)

3 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
17 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for NCOs, technicians, and cadets; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 210,938
females age 16-49: 170,471 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 171,536
females age 16-49: 142,714 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF): Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Naval Force, Air Force, National Guard

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 6,543
female: 6,429 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Bahrain is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation; men and women from Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia migrate voluntarily to Bahrain to work as laborers or domestic servants where some face conditions of involuntary servitude such as unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movements, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse; women from Thailand, Morocco, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia are trafficked to Bahrain for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Bahrain is on the Tier 2 Watch List for failing to show evidence of increased efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly efforts that enforce laws against trafficking in persons, and that prevent the punishment of victims of trafficking; during 2007, Bahrain passed a comprehensive law prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons; the government also established a specialized anti-trafficking unit within the Ministry of Interior to investigate trafficking crimes; however, the government did not report any prosecutions or convictions for trafficking offenses during 2007, despite reports of a substantial problem of involuntary servitude and sex trafficking (2008)

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