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HomeIn focus BTWSecuring the digital future: Bahrain to train citizens in combating cyber threats

Securing the digital future: Bahrain to train citizens in combating cyber threats

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Bahrain has set an ambitious goal to train at least 20,000 citizens with the necessary skills and knowledge to combat cyber threats by 2026. This is in line with the Telecommunications, ICT, and Digital Economy Sector Strategy 2022–2026, which also projects an increase in ICT startups and national employment in the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

“The Telecommunications, ICT, and Digital Economy Sector Strategy 2022–26 intends to transform services through digital technologies, while enhancing the sector environment and encouraging adoption,” said Shaikh Khalid.

“Through this strategy, the country aims to increase the number of ICT startups by 20 per cent, automate an additional 200 government services, increase national employment in the sector by 35pc and train at least 20,000 citizens on cybersecurity to support the digital economy by 2026.” Shaikh Khalid was speaking in an interview with the Oxford Business Group (OBG) published in its analysis titled The Report: Bahrain 2023.

“The kingdom has launched several initiatives to support digitalization efforts, including Tamkeen’s innovation programme, which provides support to digital startups in research and development, prototyping, and product testing and launching,” added Shaikh Khalid. “Another example is Citibank’s Global Technology Hub, which aims to create 1,000 coding jobs by 2033,” he added.

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Deputy Prime Minister
Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa

In the interview, Shaikh Khalid discussed the country’s fiscal sustainability initiatives and their impact on long-term economic growth and competitiveness. He said the initiatives have attracted signifi cant direct investment, totaling $1.1 billion in 2022 from 88 companies, and are expected to create over 6,300 jobs by 2025.

“The 2021 Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) includes 27 programmes under five main pillars,” he said. “It aims to attract foreign direct investment by launching strategic projects, developing priority sectors, increasing commercial efficiency, achieving fiscal sustainability, and providing quality employment. The plan aims to attract over $2.5bn by 2023, streamline business setup procedures, and support skilled local workforce development. The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) attracted a record $1.1bn in direct investment in 2022. This investment came from a total of 88 companies and is expected to generate over 6,300 jobs by 2025.”

He also added that the plan includes carbon neutrality by 2060 and sustainability strategies like the National Renewable Energy Action Plan. Bahrain’s government prioritises efficient governance through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in its Economic Vision 2030, noted the senior government official. He pointed out that in 2022, standards were issued for PPPs and strategic partnerships were formed with private institutions, international companies, and agencies to create quality job opportunities and improve local skill sets.

“Bahrain has also put in place initiatives to encourage private sector growth,” said Shaikh Khalid. “On top of facilitating foreign investments, the kingdom supports startups and small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) through Tamkeen, a semi-autonomous agency that underpins private sector development. In 2019, Tamkeen’s development programme disbursed over BD29m ($76.9m), benefiting around 1,700 Bahraini businesses, of which 93pc were SMEs.”

OBG’s The Report: Bahrain 2023

The Report: Bahrain 2023 also features interviews with Industry and Commerce Minister Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, EDB chief executive Khalid Humaidan, Tamkeen chief executive Maha Mofeez, Supreme Council for Women Secretary General Hala Al Ansari, Bapco Energies Group chief executive Mark Thomas, and Beyon chief executive Mikkel Vinter.

The report, which is the latest analysis from OBG, a global research entity, has been produced with the Bahrain Bourse, KPMG Bahrain, and Zu’bi & Partners. It marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG. The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including those in macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking, and others.

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