Manama – MENA Herald: The strength of Bahrain’s local workforce was highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Human Capital Index 2016, with the country ranking first in the Middle East.

The Kingdom ranked 46th worldwide with a score of 73% ahead of Qatar, which ranked 66th (69%), the UAE which ranked 69th (68%), Saudi Arabia, which ranked 87th (64%) and Kuwait, which ranked 97th (50%).

In particular, the report highlighted Bahrain’s progress in increasing percentages of educational attainment (especially secondary and tertiary education) and ranked the country particularly highly in terms of the quality of its education system (ranked 25th worldwide), the level of staff training (ranked 22nd worldwide) and the ease of finding skilled employees (ranked 38th worldwide).

Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the EDB, said: “Bahrain is a firm believer in investing in human capital, and we are proud to have this reflected in the report. Education and training have been key areas of investment in Bahrain for many decades and these results demonstrate the impact of these efforts.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the different organisations that play a vital role in developing our human capital here in Bahrain. We are looking to improve further and continue to invest in human capital to ensure we are able to compete in the global marketplace.”

Bahrain has long been a pioneer in education and training in the region. It was the first country to introduce a public education system among GCC members in 1919. The Kingdom lead youth literacy rates in the MENA region, ranking 1st (99.76%). compared to the rest of the region, according to WEF Human Capital Index 2016. The Kingdom’s national university, University of Bahrain, is also ranked among the top 50 Arab Universities in 33rd place in 2016.

Such efforts, along with the wide range of training and specialised institutions dedicated to support youth entrance into the workforce, have led to Bahrain having one of the most diversified national workforces in the GCC. Bahrainis are active in all sectors of the economy and only approximately a third of the economically active nationals are employed in the public sector.

The World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Report ranks 130 countries on how well they are developing and deploying their talent. The index evaluates the levels of education, skills and employment available to people in five distinct age groups, starting from under 15 years to over 65.