As another year comes to a close we take an opportunity to reflect on what 2014 might have in store. In reading through the various articles in our annual review, and similar ones in recent months, it seems to me that there is an increasing consensus over the way forward.
While dialogue might still appear to be a little problematical at times, I am confident, nevertheless, that we have started to find our voices as together we embark on a new year.
Our main interview this month is with Dr Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at the Economic Development Board. While the projected GDP growth rate for 2014, at four per cent, might be a little below the longer-term target it does indicate that the economy has found its feet. In his analysis of the current environment Dr Jarmo stresses the importance of a public-private partnership as an imperative for economic growth.
This view is shared by the likes of Dr Essa Faqih, managing partner at Exceed Hospitality and currently leading the 'new' Al Areen Resort & Spa. Abdul Jaleel Al-Ansari, chairman of the Al-Ansari Group, makes a point in his interview that will resonate with many in the Kingdom. He notes that we have moved on, as individuals and a country, from the events of 2011 and it is time to concentrate on the future.
In the real estate market, as both Anil Nair, managing director at Mannai Holding, and Dr Jarmo point out, the issues facing this segment of the market are not unique to the Kingdom and there are plenty of opportunities available for those willing to invest.
We talk to Betsy Rahman about the initiative of the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations to establish a shelter for foreigners who find themselves in difficulty. The festive season is a time to spend with our families; we should spend a moment to think about those who are prevented from doing so through the likes of travel bans and other disputes with employers.
This issue contains our usual round-up of festive fare options and New Year parties, as well as a host of other events taking place around the Kingdom in an action-packed month. So, whatever you choose to do during December, take time to enjoy the great way of life that the Kingdom has to offer.