Manama: The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), celebrating its 50th anniversary, has recognised Bahrain and King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa with an award for their global role in delivering economic empowerment for youth and women through the Bahrain Model for Economic Empowerment.
Two decades of strategic relations between Unido have produced the Bahrain Model for Economic Empowerment that is now being followed in 48 countries.
Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, participating as the guest of honour in the UNIDO 2016 “Together for a sustainable future” Expo, received the award on behalf of King Hamad.
"It is an honour to receive the Unido award on behalf of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa," Prince Salman said.
"The award recognises the global role His Majesty and the Kingdom of Bahrain have played in delivering economic empowerment for youth and women. His Majesty’s comprehensive reform programme is built upon the principles of the 2001 National Action Charter, which continues to drive programmes and initiatives that advance individual rights and justice, enhance accountability, and increase participation in sustainable development."
This award is representative of the diligent efforts and innovative initiatives that over many years have delivered better futures for women, youth and entrepreneurs in Bahrain, the crown prince added.
"Bahrain’s Supreme Council for Women is dedicated to promoting women’s empowerment and has played a vital role in increasing women’s participation in the workforce by over 36 per cent since Bahrain became a member of the UN in 1971.
"Female workers now constitute 53 per cent of the public sector workforce and 30 per cent of the private sector workforce. In addition, the pioneering Tamkeen labour fund, which drives entrepreneurial development through grants and guidance, has invested over 800 million Bahraini dinars ($2 billion) to support 95,000 Bahrainis since its inception a decade ago, with many of the beneficiaries being young people and women."
Far reaching labour reforms within the Kingdom have significantly increased protections for workers, ensured freedom of labour movement and combatted human trafficking, Prince Salman said.
"Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, launched eight years ago, reinforced the principles of sustainability, fairness and competitiveness as the basis of social and economic development in the Kingdom. Since the launch of Bahrain's Vision 2030, the Kingdom's GDP has increased 28 per cent with a 47 per cent increase in the average income of a Bahraini family," he said.
"The Kingdom recognises that Unido has played an important role in alleviating poverty and empowering youth and women across the world for half a century, and Bahrain is delighted to have been an active and dedicated contributor to these efforts. We are deeply proud to say that our partnership to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship has delivered real societal and economic improvements that have expanded opportunities and inspired change."
Bahrain began, 20 years ago, hosting the Unido's Investment and Technology Promotion Office which went on to produce the Bahrain Model for Economic Empowerment that is now followed in 48 countries across the globe.
Prince Salman said that Bahrain would not be fall into self-complacency.
"We are aware that given the challenges the world faces we must re-double our efforts to ensure our shared progress is built upon. Bahrain’s longstanding diversification efforts have consistently focused on investing in citizens’ futures and equipping future generations with the resources they need to reach their creative goals and aspirations.
"These efforts have been underpinned by providing the private sector – which now employs more Bahraini citizens than the public sector – with the tools it needs to support our modern and inter-connected economy," he said.
In his speech during the opening ceremony of the Unido Expo, Li Young, Unido Director General, said that he was privileged to present awards to “those who have made the programme possible."
"One of Unido's success stories in supporting women’s economic development and the positive impact it has had on women’s lives is the Entrepreneurship Development and Investment Promotion Programme – EDIP Programme – that is implemented by the Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Bahrain," he said.
“The EDIP Programme has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs, to realise their dreams and aspirations in developing and growing their own businesses.
"The progamme, implemented through the Arab International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Investment in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is so successful that it is now being replicated in 48 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America."