BAHRAINI Facts & Figures
Size: 290 square miles
Currency: Bahraini Dinar
Weather / Climate:
Bahrainfeatures an arid climate. Bahrain has two seasons: an extremely hot summer and a relatively mild winter. During the summer months, from April to October, afternoon temperatures average 40 °C (104 °F) and can reach 48 °C (118.4 °F) during June and July. The combination of intense heat and high humidity makes this season uncomfortable. In addition, a hot, dry southwest wind, known locally as the qaws, periodically blows sand clouds across the barren southern end of Bahrain toward Manama in the summer. Temperatures moderate in the winter months, from November to March, when the range is between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F). However, humidity often rises above 90% in the winter. From December to March, prevailing winds from the southeast, known as the shamal, bring damp air over the islands. Regardless of the season, daily temperatures are fairly uniform throughout the archipelago.
Bahrainreceives little precipitation. The average annual rainfall is 72 millimeters (2.8 in), usually confined to the winter months. No permanent rivers or streams exist on any of the islands. The winter rains tend to fall in brief, torrential downpours, flooding the shallow wadis that are dry the rest of the year and impeding transportation. Little of the rainwater is saved for irrigation or drinking. However, there are numerous natural springs in the northern part of Bahrain and on adjacent islands. Underground freshwater deposits also extend beneath the Persian Gulf to the Saudi Arabian coast. Since ancient times, these springs have attracted settlers to the archipelago. Despite increasing salinization, the springs remain an important source of drinking water for Bahrain. Since the early 1980s, however, desalination plants, which render seawater suitable for domestic and industrial use, have provided about 60% of daily water consumption needs. One of the most famous sights is Pearl Monument.
Taken from: www.wikipedia.com
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, but English is widely spoken. It is used in business and is a compulsory second language in schools. Among the non-Bahraini population, many people speak Farsi, the official language of Iran, or Urdu, the official language of Pakistan.
Arabic is spoken by almost 200 million people in more than 22 countries. It is the language of the Qur'an, the Holy Book of Islam, and of Arab poetry and literature. While spoken Arabic varies from country to country, classical Arabic has remained unchanged for centuries. The Arabic language originated in Saudi Arabia in pre-Islamic times and spread across the Middle East during the 7th and 8th centuries. The official language of Bahrain is Modern Standard Arabic, a modernized form of classical Arabic. It is used in schools, for official purposes and for written communication within the Arabic-speaking international community. In Bahrain, there are differences between the dialects spoken in urban areas and those spoken in rural areas.
Although state radio and television are broadcast primarily in Arabic, newspapers and magazines in other languages are available. Al-Ayam is a leading Arabic newspaper. The Bahrain Tribune and the Gulf Daily News are English newspapers.
In 2010, Bahrain's population grew to 1.234 million, of which more than 666,172 (54%) were non-nationals, up from 1.05 million (517,000 non-nationals) in 2008. Though a majority of the population is ethnically Arab, a sizable number of people from South Asia live in the country. In 2008, approximately 290,000 Indian nationals lived in Bahrain, making them the single largest expatriate community in the country.
The official religion of Bahrain is Islam, and a majority practise Shia Islam. However, due to an influx of immigrants and guest workers from non-Muslim countries, such as India, Philippines and Sri Lanka, the overall percentage of Muslims in the country has declined in recent years. According to the 2001 census, 81.2% of Bahrain's population was Muslim, 9% were Christian, and 9.8% practiced Hinduism or other religions. There are no official figures for the proportion of Shia and Sunni among the Muslims of Bahrain. Most academic analysts give the native Bahraini population a Shia majority of approximately 70 percent.
A Financial Times article published on 31 May 1983 found that "Bahrainis a polyglot state, both religiously and racially. Discounting temporary immigrants of the past ten years, there are at least eight or nine communities on the island". These may be classified as:
Taken from: www.wikipedia.com
Bahrain experiences huge temperatures and less rainfall. Only very little amount of land is suitable for cultivation. The percentage of foods generated through cultivation cannot satisfy the nation’s needs. Most of Bahrain food is imported from other nations. The major crops of Bahrain include dates, plantain, mangoes, citrus varieties of fruits, and pomegranates. Even the live stock population is also not adequate to support the growing Bahrain food requirements. However, fishing industry is always on the high, with availability of plenty of fishes and shrimps.
Traditional Bahrain food includes rice, fish, meat and dates. Machboos made of meat or fish is a famous dish and is served in most of the restaurants. It is quite delicious and liked by the local people. Even foreigners fall in love with this dish. Muhammar is another highly known delicious dish. Other kinds of Bahrain food that are quite popular among the local people include falafel, and shwarma, which is lamb or chicken slice wrapped around bread. These two varieties are Arabic foods, which have gained immense popularity in Bahrain. Traditional Bahrain snacks are fried cakes made out of potatoes, and pastries that are stuffed with meat, loads of cheese, or simply with sugar and nuts. These snacks can be found anywhere. They can be obtained easily in souks.
There are several varieties of fish preparations that are derived from other countries, but which are very popular as Bahrain food. Fish preparations, involving either grilling, frying, or steaming are common in Bahrain. Other fish varieties that are popular include Safi, chanad, and sobaity. Generally rice is served as the main course of the meal along with fish preparations. The influence of British rule is seen in the food varieties. Qoozi, is grilled lamb stuffed with boiled eggs, rice, onions and spices. Flat bread that is consumed along with meat or fish is termed as Khubz.
Drinking coffee forms part of Bahrain’s tradition of giving a warm welcome. The coffee or tea has a unique taste with rose water, cardamom, and saffron added along with coffee powder. Coffee is served in small cups that are termed as finjan. If one does not wish to have coffee further after having two cups, they convey it by shaking coffee cup from side to side.
A wide variety of Bahrain food is served at the time of family gatherings. Bahrainis show a great degree of hospitality to their guests. Guests have to reciprocate in a similar way by accepting the offered services, because rejection is considered as rejection of the friendship with that person. Bahrainis follow strict table manners. The food is supposed to be consumed with your right hand only. Generally the hosts are given prior importance by serving them the best of what is prepared. It is also a rule for the guests to at least taste all the varieties of foods that are served. The guests are supposed to leave a certain amount of food after completion. This serves as a symbol for the abundance of the food served by the hosts showing their generosity.
It can be seen that Bahrain food is composed of a great section of non-vegetarian diet and very less vegetarian foods.
Taken from world travel deals.
Doing business in BAHRAIN
Relationships and Communication
. Bahrainis do not require as much personal space as most western cultures.
. Since Bahrainis prefer to do business with those with whom they have a personal relationship, a letter of introduction from someone they know allows them to trust you.
. They will spend a great deal of time on the getting-to-know-you part of relationship building.
. You must be patient. Impatience is considered bad manners and may deleteriously affect future business dealings.
. The Bahrain business community is relatively small and your behaviour will quickly become public knowledge.
. Relationships take time to grow and must be nurtured. This may require several visits.
. Bahrainis tend to be indirect communicators who tell people what they think they want to hear if to do otherwise would make the other person uncomfortable.
. It is a good idea, therefore, to privately confirm agreements given in public so you may determine if the person was merely trying to save face.
. Communication is also quite formal and follows a hierarchical structure.
. Always demonstrate deference to the most senior person in the group
. Bahrainis are non- confrontational
. If displeased with your behaviour, Bahraini businesspeople may prefer to have an intermediary discuss the situation with you rather than confront you themselves.
. Bahrainis often touch others while conversing to enhance communication.
. Under no circumstances should you slap a Bahraini on the back or point at them with your finger.
. Avoid looking at your watch when speaking with Bahraini businesspeople, as it is a sign of disrespect.
Business Meeting Etiquette
. Appointments are necessary
. Morning meetings are generally preferred. Do not try to schedule meetings in July and August as many Bahrainis leave the country during the worst of the summer heat.
. Arrive at meetings promptly.
. Meetings are generally not private until a relationship has developed or there is a need to discuss matters confidentially.
. In general, Bahrainis have an open-door policy, even when they are in a meeting. This means you may expect frequent interruptions. Others may wander into the room and start a different discussion.
. Meetings are often interrupted. You will have to repeatedly refocus people back to the topic.
. Business meetings start after prolonged inquiries about health, family, etc.
Business Negotiation Etiquette
. Good personal relationships are important since trust is required in order to conduct business.
. Bahrainis are event rather than time-driven. The actual meeting is more important than the timeliness or outcome.
. Companies are hierarchical. The highest-ranking person reaches decisions.
. Decisions are reached slowly. If you try to rush things, you will give offense and risk your business relationship.
. Do not use high-pressure sales tactics.
. There is a tendency to avoid giving bad news and to give flowery acceptances, which may only mean "perhaps".
. If you change the lead negotiator, negotiations will start over.
. Proposals and contracts should be kept simple.
What to Wear?
. Business attire is conservative.
. Men should wear lightweight, good quality, conservative suits, at least to the initial meeting.
. Dressing well gives a good impression.
. Women should avoid giving offense by wearing extremely conservative clothing.
. Titles are important. Use the honorific Mister and any academic or political title and the first name. 'Sheikh' is a good title to use for old men, or 'Hajji' for those who have undertaken the religious obligation.
. Do not use only the first name until expressly invited to drop the titles.
. Business cards are given to everyone you meet.
. Have one side of your card translated into Arabic.
. Present your card so the Arabic side is readable to the recipient.
. Present and receive business cards with two hands.
. Make a point of studying any business card you receive before putting it into a business card holder.
Taken from Wikipedia