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Kingdom of Bahrain

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Bahrain Media


Introduction   Geography   People   Government   Economy
Communications   Transportation   

Map of Bahrain


   Introduction    Bahrain
Bahrain's small size and central location among Arabian 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. Sheikh HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa, who came to power in 1999, has pushed economic and political reforms. In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter - the centerpiece of Sheikh HAMAD's political liberalization program. In February 2002, Sheikh HAMAD pronounced Bahrain a constitutional monarchy and changed his status from amir to king. In October 2002, Bahrainis elected members of the lower house of Bahrain's reconstituted bicameral legislature, the National Assembly.


   Geography    Bahrain
Middle East, archipelago in the Arabian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:
26 00 N, 50 33 E
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: Arabian 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 Arabian 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.)
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
Administrative divisions:
12 municipalities (manatiq, singular - mintaqah); Al Hadd, Al Manamah, Al Mintaqah al Gharbiyah, Al Mintaqah al Wusta, Al Mintaqah ash Shamaliyah, Al Muharraq, Ar Rifa' wa al Mintaqah al Janubiyah, Jidd Hafs, Juzur Hawar, Madinat Hamad, Madinat 'Isa, Sitrah
note: all municipalities administered from Manama
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)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament 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 31 October 2002 (next election to be held in September 2006)
election results: House of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Sunni Islamists 12, Shia grouping 7, other groupings and independents 21
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 session of Parliament held on 25 December 2002
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 marches, demanding that more power be vested in the elected Council of Representatives and that the government do more to decrease unemployment; several small, clandestine leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups are active
International organization participation:
Flag description:
red, the traditional color for flags of Arabian 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:
Petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from refining imported crude. Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems. In 2005 Bahrain and the US ratified a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$14.11 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$11.3 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.9% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$20,500 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.6%
industry: 42.5%
services: 56.9% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 1%, industry, commerce, and services 79%, government 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):
2.7% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
14.7% of GDP (2005 est.)
revenues: $4.662 billion
expenditures: $3.447 billion; including capital expenditures of $700 million (2005 est.)
Public debt:
51.5% of GDP (2005 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:
7.345 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
6.83 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
188,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
26,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
124 million bbl (2005 est.)
Natural gas - production:
9.65 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
9.65 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
92.03 billion cu m (2005)
Current account balance:
$1.569 billion (2005 est.)
$11.17 billion (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Exports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 3%, US 2.9%, UAE 2.2%, note - data are for non-oil exports only (2004)
$7.83 billion (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 32.4%, Japan 7.3%, Germany 6.1%, US 5.6%, UK 5.4%, France 4.8% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.433 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$6.831 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$150 million; note - $50 million annually since 1992 from the UAE and Kuwait (2002)
Currency (code):
Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Exchange rates:
Bahraini dinars per US dollar - 0.376 (2005), 0.376 (2004), 0.376 (2003), 0.376 (2002), 0.376 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
   Communications    Bahrain
Telephones - main lines in use:
191,600 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
649,800 (2004)
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)
Television broadcast stations:
4 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
1,952 (2005)
Internet users:
152,700 (2005)
   Transportation    Bahrain
3 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)
1 (2005)
gas 20 km; oil 53 km (2004)
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: 4 (India 1, Kuwait 3) (2005)
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.)



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