Bahrain plans to double its industry sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) within the next few years, Bahrain’s Industry & Commerce Minister Hassan Fakhro tells MEED.

Fakhro also says that as while more traditional industries in the Gulf state, such as aluminium and steel production, are important, Bahrain also plans to attract a more diverse range of sectors.

“We would like more modern industries; IT, pharmaceutical and certain green industries are all sectors we’d like to attract to the country,” Fakhro says. ““We want to more than double industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) [in Bahrain]. It is 18 per cent now and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be double that in the foreseeable future.”

When asked about a timescale regarding the plans, Fakhro says: “The next few years, maybe five years”.  

The minister also dismissed concerns regarding the sudden increase in aluminium smelting capacity in the Middle East region affecting established smelters, such as Aluminium Bahrain’s (Alba’s) 840,000 tonne-a-year plant in the country.  

“When you look at the European Union, [the member countries] all do their own thing and no one complains about competing against each other,” he says. “Competition is good for business.”