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The Bahrain Model: Creating jobs of the future, today

Economic Development

With industries around the world facing unprecedented disruption driven by new technologies, we are only just starting to understand the impact on our careers.

The majority of children entering primary school today will work in completely new jobs that don’t even exist yet, according to the World Economic Forum. How to arm future generations with the skills and opportunities to thrive in this new world should be a question at the heart of every government, educator, employer, parent.

Education, of course, is a core component to meeting this challenge – and Bahrain has laid strong foundations with some of the highest literacy rates in the region, at 92%, and pioneering skills-based training programs through Bahrain’s Labor Fund, Tamkeen. As a result, Bahrain was ranked first for “Youth Development” in the 2017 Commonwealth report.

But we also need to ensure that we are attracting the right economic investment to ensure that jobs for the future are being created now.  Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) strategies must work hand-in-hand with education and training to open up new sectors, jobs and opportunities for young people.

High quality investment for high quality jobs

Our mission at the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is clear: attracting and supporting investment into Bahrain to foster economic growth and reinforce the Kingdom’s position as a center of business excellence and gateway to the region.

With investment our core remit, we have a laser focus on attracting the right kind of investment to drive the creation of quality jobs and the development of our youth.  In particular we are focused on combining public and private sector efforts in order to create these opportunities for quality investment in all sectors, including technology, finance, education and infrastructure.

Foreign Direct Investment can shape careers of the future

 The results achieved in 2017 are a strong proof-point of this mission. Bahrain EDB experienced a record year for FDI: attracting BHD 276 Million (US $733 million), a significant increase on 2016’s BHD 106 Million ($281 million). More importantly, these investments will create more than 2,800 direct jobs in Bahrain, in addition to many more indirect jobs.

Game-changing investments secured by the EDB within the last year include Amazon Web Services (AWS) first MENA Region in Bahrain.  AWS estimates there will be a need for at least 10,000 data-processing engineers in the region over the next five years, and as a result of their investment in Bahrain, we have already seen over 2,500 young adults sign up for their cloud training program, AWS Educate. This is a higher rate than seen even in China and India and reflects the strong appetite among our youth to develop new skills to drive forward and future proof their careers.

In the IBM 2017 Index, Bahrain ranked second globally in the ‘Job Creation through FDIs’ category, a testament to the success of our approach.

Collaboration is the key to success

As part of our commitment to ensuring close collaboration between investing companies and Bahrain’s training and education providers, EDB is participating in Bahrain Training Institute’s (BTI) annual Career Week from 20 to 22 March 2018, in collaboration with a number of companies which the EDB has succeeded in attracting to the Kingdom, including Mondelez, AWS, and Armada.

Our presence at Career Week will introduce more talented young Bahrainis to the prospects that they can find with both EDB and global companies, to meet their ambitions and aspirations and discover the role they can play in shaping the future of industries in Bahrain and globally.

Vivian Jamal

Executive Director, Bahrain Economic Development Board