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Bahrain



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Introduction

Background: 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 is pushing economic and political reforms, and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community.

Geography

Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates: 26 00 N, 50 33 E

Map references: Middle East

Area
  total: 620 sq km
  land: 620 sq km
  water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 161 km

Maritime claims
  contiguous zone: 24 nm
  continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Terrain: 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

Land use
  arable land: 1%
  permanent crops: 1%
  permanent pastures: 6%
  forests and woodland: 0%
  other: 92% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 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; no natural fresh water resources so that groundwater and sea water 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

Population: 634,137 (Note: includes 228,424 non-nationals (July 2000 est.))

Age structure
  0-14 years: 30% (male 96,240; female 93,846)
  15-64 years: 67% (male 252,767; female 173,072)
  65 years and over: 3% (male 9,270; female 8,942) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.78% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 20.61 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 3.89 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1.46 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 1.04 male(s)/female
  total population: 1.3 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 20.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 72.98 years
  male: 70.58 years
  female: 75.45 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.82 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Bahraini(s)
  adjective: Bahraini

Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%

Religions: Shi'a Muslim 75%, Sunni Muslim 25%

Languages: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Literacy
  definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  total population: 85.2%
  male: 89.1%
  female: 79.4% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: State of Bahrain
  conventional short form: Bahrain
  local long form: Dawlat al Bahrayn
  local short form: Al Bahrayn

Data code: BA

Government type: traditional monarchy

Capital: Manama

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)

Independence: 15 August 1971 (from UK)

National holiday: National Day, 16 December (1971)

Constitution: 26 May 1973, effective 6 December 1973

Legal system: based on Islamic law and English common law

Suffrage: none

Executive branch
  chief of state: Amir 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 monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly was dissolved 26 August 1975 and legislative powers were assumed by the Cabinet; appointed Advisory Council established 16 December 1992

Judicial branch: High Civil Appeals Court

Political parties and leaders: political parties prohibited

Political pressure groups and leaders: Shi'a activists have fomented unrest sporadically since late 1994, 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: ABEDA, AFESD, AL, AMF, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Muhammad ABD AL-GHAFFAR Abdallah
  chancery: 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 342-0741
  FAX: [1] (202) 362-2192
  consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Johnny YOUNG
  embassy: Building Number 979, Road 3119 (next to Al-Ahli Sports Club), Block 311, 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

Economy - overview: In Bahrain, petroleum production and processing account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing fortunes of oil since 1985, for example, during and following the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. 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 imported crude. Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $8.6 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $13,700 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 1%
  industry: 46%
  services: 53% (1996 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.5% (1998 est.)

Labor force: 295,000 (1998 est.) (Note: 44% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.))

Labor force - by occupation: industry, commerce, and service 79%, government 20%, agriculture 1% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 15% (1998 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $1.5 billion
  expenditures: $1.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998)

Industries: petroleum processing and refining, aluminum smelting, offshore banking, ship repairing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 3.4% (1995)

Electricity - production: 4.77 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 100%
  hydro: 0%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 1.09 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: fruit, vegetables; poultry, dairy products; shrimp, fish

Exports: $3.3 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products 61%, aluminum 7%

Exports - partners: India 18%, Japan 11%, Saudi Arabia 8%, South Korea 7%, UAE 5% (1997)

Imports: $3.5 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Imports - commodities: nonoil 59%, crude oil 41%

Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 45%, US 10%, UK 6%, Japan 5%, Germany 4% (1997)

Debt - external: $2 billion (1997)

Economic aid - recipient: $48.4 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Bahraini dinar (BD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Bahraini dinars (BD) per US$1 - 0.3760 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 141,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 130,000 (1999 est.)

Telephone system: modern system; good domestic services and excellent international connections
  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

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 338,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 4 (1997)

Televisions: 275,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (1999)

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 3,164 km
  paved: 2,433 km
  unpaved: 731 km (1998 est.) (Note: there is a paved causeway connecting Bahrain to Saudi Arabia)

Pipelines: 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 228,273 GRT/304,654 DWT
  ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 3, container 2, petroleum tanker 1 (1999 est.)

Airports: 3 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 2
  over 3,047 m: 2 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 1
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Police Force

Military manpower - military age: 15 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 221,109 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 121,442 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 5,699 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $318 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 5.2% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: the territorial dispute with Qatar over the Hawar Islands and the maritime boundary dispute with Qatar are currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

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