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Flag of Bahrain
Map of Bahrain
Introduction Bahrain
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. Possessing minimal oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining, and has transformed itself into an international banking center. The new amir, installed in 1999, has pushed economic and political reforms, and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community. In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter - the centerpiece of the amir's political liberalization program. In February 2002, Amir HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa proclaimed himself king. In local elections held in May 2002, Bahraini women were allowed to vote and run for office for the first time.
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
water: 0 sq km
land: 665 sq km
Area - comparative:
3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
161 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 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: 4.35%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 91.3% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
50 sq km (1998 est.)
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, which much of Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean
People Bahrain
note: includes 228,424 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.2% (male 97,022; female 94,605)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 261,919; female 182,727)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 10,230; female 9,894) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.67% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
19.53 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
3.95 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.43 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
total population: 1.29 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
19.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.47 years
female: 75.96 years (2002 est.)
male: 71.05 years
Total fertility rate:
2.75 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.15% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Bahraini(s)
adjective: Bahraini
Ethnic groups:
Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%
Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%
Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.5%
male: 91.6%
female: 84.2% (2002 est.)
Government Bahrain
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain
conventional short form: Bahrain
local short form: Al Bahrayn
former: Dilmun
local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
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, Madinat Hamad, Madinat 'Isa, Juzur Hawar, 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
adopted late December 2000; Bahrani voters approved on 13-14 February 2001 a referendum on legislative changes (revised constitution calls for a partially elected legislature, a constitutional monarchy, and an independent judiciary)
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 NA 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 elected by restricted vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Deputies - last held 31 October 2002 (next election to be held NA 2006)
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
election results: House of Deputies - percent of vote - NA%; seats by party - independents 21, Sunni Islamists 9, other 10
Judicial branch:
High Civil Appeals Court
Political parties and leaders:
political parties prohibited but politically oriented nongovernment organizations are allowed
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Shi'a activists fomented unrest sporadically in 1994-97, demanding the return of an elected National Assembly and an end to unemployment; several small, clandestine leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups are active
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Khalifa bin Ali bin Rashid AL KHALIFA
chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
telephone: [1] (202) 342-0741
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald E. NEUMANN
embassy: Building #979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 321, Zinj District, Manama
mailing address: American Embassy Manama, PSC 451, FPO AE 09834-5100; international mail: American Embassy, Box 26431, Manama
telephone: [973] 273-300
FAX: [973] 272-594
Flag description:
red with a white serrated band (eight white points) on the hoist side
Economy Bahrain
Economy - overview:
In Bahrain, petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of 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. Bahrain is dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil revenue granted as aid. 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.
purchasing power parity - $8.4 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $13,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 35%
services: 64% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.) (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry, commerce, and service 79%, government 20%, agriculture 1% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
15% (1998 est.)
revenues: $1.8 billion
expenditures: $2.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $700 million (2002 est.)
petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, offshore banking, ship repairing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
5.765 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
5,361.45 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish
$5.5 billion (2001)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, aluminum, textiles
Exports - partners:
India 8.4%, US 3.9%, Saudi Arabia 3.4%, Japan 2.8%, South Korea 2.1% (2000)
$4.5 billion (2001)
Imports - commodities:
crude oil, machinery, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 28.7%, US 12.5%, UK 6.6%, France 6%, Japan 4% (2000)
Debt - external:
$2.8 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$48.4 million (1995) (1995)
Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Bahraini dinars per US dollar - 0.3760 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bahrain
Telephones - main lines in use:
152,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
58,543 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system
domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile cellular telephones
international: tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; submarine cable to Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat (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 Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
140,200 (2002)
Transportation Bahrain
0 km
total: 3,164 km
paved: 2,433 km
unpaved: 731 km
note: a paved causeway links Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
crude oil 56 km; petroleum products 16 km; natural gas 32 km
Ports and harbors:
Manama, Mina' Salman, Sitrah
Merchant marine:
total: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 270,784 GRT/384,561 DWT
ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 4, container 2, includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Kuwait 1 (2002 est.)
4 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
1 (2002)
Military Bahrain
Military branches:
Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF) comprising Ground Force (includes Air Defense), Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Police Force, Amiri Guards, National Guard
Military manpower - military age:
15 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 222,572 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 121,955 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 5,926 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$526.2 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
6.7% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Bahrain
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003