GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Al Shaer
First Name:
Dr. Maher
Title of Paper:
Impact and role of real estate developments on the sustainable economic development of Kingdom of Bahrain
Paper Proposal Text :


This paper reports the findings of an exploratory study of the relationship between real estate and sustainable economic development in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The findings of the study are based on the qualitative data collected from the in-depth interviews with key decision making roles in real estate industry, investment banking, ministry and international consulting firm. The recommendations based on the findings of the study include major investment in Leisure and Entertainment; affordable housing that can sustain the economic development.

The study helped to address the burning platform that Bahrain will face within a short span of 5 -10 years. The Bahrain’s demography is great challenge for the country, considering the large section of the population is skewed towards working age group. While Bahrain has enjoyed some years of relatively strong growth in the early 2000s, these have been preceded and accompanied by a far more rapid set of changes in the socio-economic make-up of the Kingdom – changes that now create a need for Bahraini jobs that far outpaces the economy’s ability to provide jobs.

The socio-economic trends of greatest importance that need to be addressed include:
• The high numbers of Bahraini youth that will enter the workforce in the next 5-10 years,
• Low workforce participation,
• High levels of dependency on a relatively small proportion of working age Bahrainis,
• Rising expectations around what constitutes “acceptable” jobs for Bahrainis by an ever growing number of highly qualified university graduates, and
• High numbers of the local population below the skill levels required to successfully compete for jobs.
In addition, the current economic growth – or even the rate of economic growth seen during the successful 2000s – is insufficient to drive the required growth in employment opportunities, and in associated standards of living. These widely recognized challenges represent Bahrain’s “burning platform”, and are set to worsen substantially in future as more young Bahrainis enter the labor force and as the projections for economic growth remain low.

This set of challenges is not new to the country. The socio-economic trends have been in evidence for the past 10-15 years. Indeed, the development of several versions of macro-level or national strategies to date is an indication that there has been a concerted effort at the most senior levels of the country to develop a comprehensive, economy-wide set of sustainable solutions. However, these “top down”, comprehensive strategies have yet to deliver impact on the scale required to solve, or even begin to mitigate, the continually growing challenge. Bahrain has continued to lose ground to its GCC neighbors, all of whom have either put in place successful strategies for economic growth, diversification and job creation (e.g., the UAE) or, if they have not yet successfully addressed their own “burning platform”.
This research study lays out detailed findings of substantial qualitative and quantitative analysis that demonstrates the potential of the Bahrain real estate industry that can contribute to the economic development, particularly, to address the untapped tourism industry ( the tourists visitation is very low compared to neighboring countries despite the fact that huge market potential to attract Saudi family segments within 4-5 hours drive) to create high levels of GDP and employment creation in the short to medium term, as part of the solution to the burning platform. The government’s initiative to develop a national level tourism strategy with the proposed investment into real estate particularly in Leisure and Entertainment such as Theme park, public beaches and hospitality industry is testimony to the research findings and recommendations. The real estate industry (tourism sector) is one of major contributor to the economy, creates significant employment opportunities (directly and indirectly) and thus addresses the “burning platform” and also social cohesiveness and economic growth.