With the pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic easing in 2022, the Government shifted its attention from response to recovery and beyond. Backed by decisive government actions undertaken in line with the Economic Recovery Plan, the national economy continued a healthy and broad-based rebound during the year. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.9 per cent in 2022, which is the highest since 2013. Economic growth was mainly propelled by non-oil sectors, with the hospitality sector being a key driver and the financial sector gaining a greater share of the economy. This demonstrates that the country is on a solid path toward a more diversified economic structure.

Owing to high oil and aluminium prices, and strong non-oil revenue, Bahrain significantly narrowed its fiscal deficit in 2022. This will allow the country to meet its budget balance target earlier than under the Fiscal Balance Programme. Inflation peaked at 3.7 per cent in 2022, mainly driven by food prices. To contain pressures from supply-side shocks and higher inflation in trading partners, Bahrain has synchronized its monetary policy with advanced economies by tightening financial conditions. Government measures such as subsidies, price caps on certain products and financial support to low-income families, have helped offset the impact of rising consumer prices.

The year brought several significant changes on the political front. A major cabinet reshuffle took place in June at the initiative of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, resulting in the change of 17 out of 22 ministers as well as the restructuring of several ministries and the establishment of 4 new ones. The reshuffle was considered one of the largest in the country’s history introducing leaders from a younger generation. The new Ministry of Sustainable Development was created, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda. Later in the year, shortly after the country’s parliamentary elections, a new government was formed in line with the provisions of the constitution. All except for three ministers retained their positions.

Parliamentary elections took place in two rounds in November 2022. The elections were for the 40 members of the Council of Representatives – the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament. Elections for municipal councillors were also held at the same time. A 73 per cent voter turnout was registered during the first round of elections, with six members of parliament being elected. The other 34 members were elected in the second round after run-offs. A total of eight women were successful in securing a seat representing 20 per cent of all seats – the highest number so far.

Soon after the elections, the Government presented a new Government Action Plan to parliament for consideration and approval, setting a roadmap for the country for the next four years. The plan was unanimously endorsed in an extraordinary meeting by the Council of Representatives in January 2023 under the title From Recovery to Sustainable Development, which is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the global themes of the second SDG Summit that will be held in New York in 2023 under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly. In its final version, the plan is built around four priorities:


Raising the standard of living among citizens to preserve their gains

Justice, security and stability

Economic recovery and sustainable development

High-quality and competitive government services

Bahrain has continued to broaden and strengthen its partnerships and global positioning.

A particular highlight during the year was hosting the global interfaith forum, which brought together Pope Francis, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Tayyeb and other leaders to promote religious and cultural tolerance and human coexistence.

At the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the country reaffirmed its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, while at the Transforming Education Summit, it undertook a series of commitments to strengthen the education system.

In recognition of the country’s advancement in the communication, information technology and digital transformation sector, Bahrain was elected as a member of the International Telecommunication Union Council for its next session.

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