DUBAI, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Bahraini economy is set to benefit from Saudi Arabia's reform plan Vision 2030 in sectors of trade, investment and banking, Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economic Adviser of the Economic Development Board (EDB) Bahrain, said in an interview with Xinhua.
"Saudi Vision 2030, the economic paradigm shift underway in the kingdom is one of the biggest economic activities not only for Saudi Arabia, but also for the broader region including Bahrain," Kotilaine said.
Launched in spring of 2016, Vision 2030 aims to transform Saudi Arabia, one of the world's biggest oil producers into a diversified economy based on a thriving private sector.
With a total population of 1.43 million people, the island kingdom of Bahrain is the smallest of the Gulf Arab countries, and the country has always been enjoying strong economic links with neighboring Saudi Arabia. Since 1981, both Gulf states are connected through the 25-km long King Fahd Causeway.
Kotilaine said he is confident that Bahrain's economic plans will also attract Saudi interest, noting "not only does Bahrain have an infrastructure project worth more than 30 billion U.S. dollars in the pipeline, but Bahrain's real GDP grew by 3.9 percent in 2017, with the non-oil economy expanding by 5 percent, making it the fastest growing country in the GCC (Gulf co-operation council)."
He mentioned in particular the upcoming new Aluminum Bahrain (Alba) Line 6 Expansion project, "which will turn Alba once again into the world's single site largest aluminum smelter."
For 2018, Kotilaine expected a 3.6-percent growth of the Bahraini economy, adding "Bahrain's economic resilience aligns with broader regional and global trends in which we see more diversified economies tending to achieve faster growth."