Manama, Apr. 5 (BNA): Minister of Finance and National Economy, Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, took part in a virtual meeting held by the World Bank on investment in human capital in the era of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Addressing the meeting, the Minister of Finance and National Economy stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has set investment in the human resources as a basic goal for all its development programmes. He affirmed the kingdom’s resolve to face all challenges posed by the pandemic in order to achieve balance between public health and support to the economy. He pointed out the precautionary measures being undertaken by the kingdom to ensure the health and safety of citizens and residents.
The Minister of Finance and National Economy said the Kingdom of Bahrain has set a successful model in successful management of the pandemic by adopting strategies aimed at stimulating the national economy. He underscored Bahrain’s distinguished performance in providing free healthcare that encompasses checkup, follow-up, treatment and provision of the COVID-19 vaccine. He pointed out that more than 800,000 jabs have been administered to citizens and residents so far, which earned the kingdom an international praise.
The Minister of Finance and National Economy emphasised that the Kingdom of Bahrain has given priority to backing the national economy and continuity of the private sector, being a vital tributary. He pointed out the financial package launched in March 2020 which has exceeded so far BD 4.5 billion (around $ 12 billion), the equivalent of one third of the kingdom’s Gross Domestic Product.
The minister added that the Kingdom of Bahrain has achieved significant development in the health and education sectors over the past few years. He said the kingdom ranked second in the Arab world in the Human Capital Index 2020 issued by the World Bank, which focuses on the health and education sectors and measures the potential productivity of newborns after reaching the age of eighteen. The kingdom also made an improvement in the overall score over the past ten years. The index score increased from 0.60 points in 2010 to 0.65 points in the 2020 evaluation, which is higher than the average for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He noted the momentum and global recognition that the human capital project has gained, as more than 80 countries cooperate within this coordinated framework.
The Minister of Finance and National Economy stressed the kingdom’s keenness on continuity of the educational process during the pandemic by providing the online learning alternatives within a comprehensive educational system that guarantees continuity of education and preservation of a quality educational output.
Within the same context, the minister stressed the role of environmental sustainability in achieving economic recovery and the importance of integrating sustainable environmental concepts within the early educational stages of individuals in schools and their continuity in the curricula of universities and colleges, thus paving the way for a switch towards green jobs.
The Minister of Finance and National Economy noted that the kingdom’s pioneering digital infrastructure has reflected remarkably on accelerating digital transformation for financial and economic services during the pandemic. He said this has improved the quality of services provided for individuals and institutions.
The meeting underscored the need to maintain constructive cooperation to develop human capital, mainly in light of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.