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By Philip Molyneux; Munawar Iqbal

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Extra info for Banking and Financial Systems in the Arab World

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However, since the mid-1990s, many Arabian countries have become members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which has enhanced transparency and increased credibility of these countries in terms of their trading performance. Economic reforms and the globalization process During the 1980s and early 1990s, many Arabian governments faced unfavourable economic conditions, represented by rising rates of unemployment and increasing social demands associated with sluggish economic growth. In response, governments initiated structural reforms aimed at facilitating a more efficient allocation of resources and achieving higher rates of growth.

According to El-Erian and Fennell (1997), the Arabian countries that initiated comprehensive financial sector reforms during the 1990s include jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. To sum up, Arabia possesses valuable natural resources that have helped enhance living standards in these countries. However, many Arabian countries suffered from sluggish economic growth (along with higher levels of population growth) during the 1980s. This has forced the authorities to initiate economic reforms aimed at adoption of a more market-oriented environment.

Prior to the discovery of oil in 1932, the people of Bahrain earned their livelihood from three main sources: pearl fishing, agriculture and trade. The first two were the industries largest employers but trade provided the major source of revenue to the state. Wilkenson and Atti (1997) indicate that there were many other smaller industries with less potential for employment; the most notable of these were weaving and embroidery, pottery, copper work and metalworking. Throughout the oil boom years of the 1950s and 1960s, the country developed a solid modern infrastructure; the electricity and water utilities are well developed, telecommunications facilities are of a high standard and the financial sector offers a broad range of products and services.

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