Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

The MDGs, as amended in 2008, consist of eight general goals, 21 specific targets, and 60 indicators. The information provided against the goals is based on the latest MDG report entitled “Review of the Progress of the MDGs in the Kingdom of Bahrain” issued by Bahrain Central Informatics Organization in coordination with UN office in Bahrain in 2010.

Based solely on the standard of people living under US$ 1 per day, Bahrain does not suffer from extreme poverty. However, 12.2 % of the population is living below the US$ 5 per day. Uneven distribution of income exists with the richest 20% of the population owning 41.6% of the total income earned. The same applies to hunger. With respect to the target on achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people, the MDG Report of 2010 states that the unemployment figure is less than 4% according to the Government of Bahrain.  Employment remains an important priority to Bahrain, with a steady improvement in wages but on the other hand, measures taken to reduce the wage gap between Bahrainis and expatriate workers have not been effective.

It is worth noting that in 2014, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated unemployment in Bahrain at 7.5%. However, the report also states that unemployment rates may differ from data published by national sources due to differences in coverage and/or definitions (Source: ILO, Trends Econometric Models, October 2013).

The World Bank figures indicate the unemployment rate is 7.4% (total, 2009-2013), while it is estimated at 25.4% for male youth between 15-24 (2009-2013), and for female youth between 15-24 it is estimated at 32.3% (2009-2013). (Source: Unemployment, total % of total labor force - modeled ILO estimate).

Most of the unemployed fall between the 15-24 age group, a fact that policymakers are addressing. The Government of Bahrain has adopted an active employment policy that has designed and implemented a number of national projects.  These include the National Employment Scheme (2006) and the Unemployment Insurance Scheme (2007) within the context of broader labour market reform, covering all workers, national and foreign alike, and financed by contributions of 3% of the wage shared between workers, employers and the Government. The Government is also concurrently working in close cooperation with UNDP Bahrain on increasing national capacities with regards to handling WTO rounds and FTA agreements which should ultimately spur economic growth and strengthen job creation.

Bahrain’s commitment to relieving the burden of poverty was recognized by UNHABITAT, whose Executive Director Anna Tibejjuka awarded the Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa a UN award for his efforts in improving the condition of the urban poor.

The Government focus on tools for measuring social conditions, whether by calculating the relative poverty lines or by preparing a guide for living conditions or a welfare guide that would be more appropriate for implementing Government social policies.


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