Political unrest in Bahrain risks the country “losing its competitiveness for a generation,” most significantly as a regional financial hub, according to Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former deputy secretary general of the UN.

Speaking at the Euromoney Bahrain conference, Malloch-Brown said that Bahrain’s legacy as a financial hub was being eroded by the rise of the financial sector in Dubai, but also other efforts around the region to develop rival financial centres.

“The sooner political issues [are] resolved the sooner Bahrain take [can] its place a liberal, trading stage at the heart of the Gulf,” he said.