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Flag of Bahrain
Map of Bahrain
Introduction Bahrain
In 1782, 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 discontent has resurfaced in recent years, however, with opposition parties taking part in elections, street demonstrations, and low-level violence. Wifaq, the largest Shia opposition movement, in late 2006 won a plurality of seats in the elected half of the legislature.
Geography Bahrain
Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:
26 00 N, 50 33 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 665 sq km
land: 665 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
161 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m
Natural resources:
oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish, pearls
Land use:
arable land: 2.82%
permanent crops: 5.63%
other: 91.55% (2005)
Irrigated land:
40 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; dust storms
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
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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
People Bahrain
note: includes 235,108 non-nationals (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.4% (male 96,567/female 94,650)
15-64 years: 69.1% (male 280,272/female 202,451)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 12,753/female 11,892) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 29.4 years
male: 32.4 years
female: 25.8 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.45% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
17.8 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
4.14 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.38 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.07 male(s)/female
total population: 1.26 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.45 years
male: 71.97 years
female: 77 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.6 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini
Ethnic groups:
Bahraini 62.4%, non-Bahraini 37.6% (2001 census)
Muslim (Shi'a and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% (2001 census)
Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.1%
male: 91.9%
female: 85% (2003 est.)
Government Bahrain
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun
Government type:
constitutional hereditary monarchy
name: Manama
geographic coordinates: 26 13 N, 50 35 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
5 governorates; Asamah, Janubiyah, Muharraq, Shamaliyah, Wasat
note: each governorate administered by an appointed governor
15 August 1971 (from UK)
National holiday:
National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 is the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 is the date of independence from British protection
new constitution 14 February 2002
Legal system:
based on Islamic law and English common law
18 years of age; universal
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: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of Shura Council (40 members appointed by the King) and House of Deputies (40 members directly elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Deputies - last held November-December 2006 (next election to be held NA)
election results: House of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Sunni Islamists 18, Al Wifaq (Shia) 17, other groupings and independents 5
note: first elections since 7 December 1973; unicameral National Assembly dissolved 26 August 1975; National Action Charter created bicameral legislature on 23 December 2000; approved by referendum 14 February 2001; first legislative term held from December 2002 to December 2006
Judicial branch:
High Civil Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders:
political parties prohibited but political societies were legalized per a July 2005 law
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Shi'a activists fomented unrest sporadically in 1994-97 and have recently engaged in protests and sporadic violence, demanding more power for the elected Council of Deputies to decrease unemployment; Sunni Islamist legislators support a greater role for shari'a in daily life; several small leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups are active
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Nasir bin Muhammad al-BALUSHI
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 342-1111
FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William T. MONROE
embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 331, Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: American Embassy Manama, PSC 451, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
telephone: [973] 1724-2700
FAX: [973] 1727-0547
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
Economy Bahrain
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 about 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 70% of government revenues, and 20% of GDP, underpinning Bahrain's strong economic growth in recent years. The financial and construction sectors have also bolstered GDP growth. Bahrain is actively pursuing the diversification and privatization of its economy to reduce the country's dependence on oil. As part of this effort, Bahrain and the US in August 2006 implemented a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$17.7 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$12.12 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$25,300 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.5%
industry: 38.7%
services: 60.8% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 79%
services: 20% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
15% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.5% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
21.1% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $5.582 billion
expenditures: $4.197 billion; including capital expenditures of $700 million (2006 est.)
Public debt:
34.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, iron pelletization, fertilizers, offshore banking, ship repairing, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.794 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
7.248 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
188,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
27,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
121 million bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
9.75 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
9.75 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
92.03 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$1.999 billion (2006 est.)
$12.62 billion (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Exports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 3.3%, US 2.6%, UAE 2.3% (2005)
$9.036 billion (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 36.5%, Japan 6.6%, Germany 6.4%, US 5.4%, UK 5%, UAE 4.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.918 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$7.267 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$150 million; note - $50 million annually since 1992 from the UAE and Kuwait (2002)
Currency (code):
Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Bahraini dinars per US dollar - 0.376 (2006), 0.376 (2005), 0.376 (2004), 0.376 (2003), 0.376 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bahrain
Telephones - main lines in use:
196,500 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
748,700 (2005)
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; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; submarine cable to Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 1 (1997)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
338,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
4 (1997)
275,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
2,165 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
152,700 (2005)
Transportation Bahrain
3 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2006)
1 (2006)
gas 20 km; oil 52 km (2006)
total: 3,498 km
paved: 2,768 km
unpaved: 730 km (2003)
Merchant marine:
total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 235,449 GRT/339,728 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 1, container 2, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Kuwait 3) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Mina' Salman, Sitrah
Military Bahrain
Military branches:
Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF): Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Navy, Air Force, National Guard
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 202,126
females age 18-49: 151,734 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 161,372
females age 18-49: 125,488 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 6,013
females age 18-49: 5,852 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$627.7 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.9% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Bahrain
Disputes - international:
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Bahrain is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly to work as laborers or domestic servants, but may be subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude when faced with exorbitant recruitment and transportation fees, withholding of their passports, restrictions on their movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse; Eastern European women are also believed to be trafficked to Bahrain for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Bahrain's efforts to address trafficking in persons are based largely on pledges of future efforts; the government did not enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law extending labor protection to domestic workers

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007