2nd Oct, 2012 –

For long Bahrain has been known as the financial hub of the region to many economists and investors around the world. The Kingdom was able to recover from the global economic crisis of 2008 with the least amount of damage to economic growth and investment, while compared to many other countries in the region Bahrain was rated as a stable economy following that period. But unfortunately the economic stability was hit hard by the political unrest that brought the country to complete paralysis in March 2011. Following the three month period of the national safety status, many investors and banks decided to move their businesses to other countries due to the fear of ongoing violence and political unrest.

“ The unrest has certainly had a severe impact on the economy, many people lost their jobs due to the unrest, small business were highly affected and many of them were closed down due to the ongoing violence, the banking sector is still in the phase of recovery and hence the political unrest is not of any help to the economic development or to the enhancement of the standard of living” said Khalid 34, Manama.

“ It is a great challenge for the economy to move forward while we lack investments and people fear the ongoing political unrest, it is the responsibility of the government to bring an end to this crisis, the longer the period takes the more it will effect the economy and the social fabric of the society” said Amina 29 from Budaiya.

Many sectors have been influenced by the 2011 unrest including the banking sector, real estate sector and the tourism sector. Property prices have notably decreased during the period following the unrest, the tourism sector was hardly hit causing complete damage to hotel occupancy. On the other hand many banks and investment companies were forced to downsize their workforce leading to a number of people losing their jobs.

“ Real estate prices have decreased and the only advantage behind this is that many people started affording the properties they could not afford prior to the unrest, we also notice that many real estate projects by well known companies have come to a halt due to the lack of interest by investors to complete the projects” said Sarah a real estate agent from Manama

“ The current economic situation is much better than it used to be 18 months ago, we are noticing an increase in hotel occupancy and tourism in general, the protest areas are the mostly affected whereas in other areas we find that businesses are functioning normally, we can also see a rise in businesses in peaceful areas” said Abdullah 32 from Sanad.

“ There are barely any signs that our economy is recovering and as long as we are facing a political unrest we will not overcome this challenge. A dialogue is the only way forward; we should concentrate on enhancing our economic status and not only the political situation, although it is the main source of the issue. The unrest has done enough damage to the country and the authorities should come up with a strategy to solve the situation soon,” said Mariam 28 from Riffa

 “A bad economic situation can only lead to worse living condition, if violence continues and investors and foreigners who are considered as main contributors towards the economy of Bahrain start leaving the country, then we will be left with a dead island. A country which will never be able to move forward”  said Ahmed 36 from Saar

The main concern of the protest movement at the start was the bad economic conditions and demands for a better standard of living and government services but what the protesters fail to understand is that the daily violence on the streets through burning tyres, attacking policemen with Molotov cocktails, organizing unlicensed protests, attacking schools and police stations and blocking roads will not serve their main acclaimed purpose, it will only continue to damage the economy and the standard of living of all Bahrainis. Peaceful means of protesting and preserving the image of your country whether you support the system of governance or reject it will certainly have an effect on maintaining economic stability and driving the nation forward on all levels.

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