While attending the Government Forum 2016, held in Bahrain yesterday , many in the audience, like me, experienced a renewed sense of elation at, and a fresh surge of confidence in, the governance of this wonderful nation.
The cause for our elation is the understanding that the strategic initiatives of Bahrain’s government are slowly but steadily coming to fruition. And the cause for our confidence is the understanding that the determined approach of the government, in preparing for future, is surely yielding results.
The forum, held at the Isa Cultural Centre – under the patronage of Prime Minister HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa – was attended by the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“We admire challenges, and are confident to overcome them because of the wisdom of the government headed by HRH the Prime Minister,” said the Crown Prince, at the opening.
In this first-of-its-kind forum in the kingdom, ministers and officials from across the government met to discuss plans against progress, and to explore ways in which a greater sustainable diversification and economic prosperity can be achieved.
The Crown Prince said that “the government system has been enhanced with organisational and legislative initiatives,” and that the Economic Vision 2030, launched in 2008, is being widely acclaimed by other GCC countries.
In fact, many GCC countries are following the Bahrain Model, based on sustainability, competitiveness and justice, he noted.
“Since 2008, Bahrain’s economy has grown by 28 per cent , and international investments into the kingdom have risen three-fold during 2009- 2014,” said the Crown Prince, who was also proud to reveal that the accomplishments directly resulted in increasing the average income of a Bahraini family by 47 per cent since 2008.
Yesterday’s event, I think, has clearly reflected the confidence of Bahrain’s rulers in overcoming the global economic challenges, in order to forge ahead, with strength and determination.
It included a range of panel discussions and workshops covering milestones, achievements and next steps required to fully achieve Bahrain’s Vision 2030 and the Government Action Plan (GAP).
Bahrain’s Vision 2030 Achievements, Private Sector Role in Driving Growth, Sustainability and Advancing Infrastructure, Enhancing Public Services, Government Priorities and Bahrain’s Next Phase of Development, were some of the many topics discussed in the Forum.
The Crown Prince’s words yesterday, at the Forum, about “the need to exploit the country’s limited resources efficiently, and to establish a strong knowledge-based and innovation-based economy,” must be taken very seriously by both, the government and private sectors. And those words must be acted upon.
Knowledge and innovation are indeed the key factors to focus on, if any growth has to be effectively achieved.
The former and the first woman President of India, Pratibha Patil, once said: “Financial institutions, the corporate world and civil society – all must uphold high standards of probity in their working. Only a genuine partnership between the Government and its people can bring about positive change to create a just society”
That is the need of the hour. The growth of a nation is a massive, collective effort. And unless the citizens and residents of this beautiful island nation genuinely and seriously become a part of the machinery that spurs on progress, and sustain its momentum, it will be hard to achieve it.
But, as the Crown Prince reiterated at the forum yesterday, “We will not let the challenges deter us from reaching our goals. If there is a will, there is a way”!