Bahrain tops Mena region for financial, investment and trade freedom

MANAMA: Bahrain leads the region in terms of financial freedom, investment and trade, in the Heritage Foundation’s 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, confirming the kingdom’s favorable business credentials.

Ranked fourth in the world for economic freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, Bahrain recorded a score of 62, well above regional and global averages.

The index assesses the level of economic freedom based on 12 factors, grouped into four categories: rule of law, size of government, regulatory effectiveness and open markets.

In two of the factors, investment (85) and financial (80), the kingdom scored the same as Singapore – the freest economy in the world according to the index.

The report states that a free and open investment environment provides maximum entrepreneurial opportunities and incentives for expanding economic activity, greater productivity and job creation.

Government policies that allow greater freedom in any of the areas measured tend to spur growth which, in turn, is a critical element in generating more opportunities for people to advance economically, thereby reducing poverty and creating lasting prosperity, he adds.


Speaking of financial freedom, Heritage Foundation explains that an accessible and efficient formal financial system ensures that diversified savings, credit, payment and investment services will be available to individuals and businesses.

By expanding financing opportunities and promoting entrepreneurship, an open banking environment encourages competition to provide the most efficient financial intermediation between households and businesses as well as between investors and entrepreneurs.

Describing Bahrain’s overall investment framework as transparent, the report says foreign and domestic investors are treated equally in the country. “The financial system remains vibrant and generally free from government intervention. No restrictive measures have been implemented in the banking sector over the past year,” and “the government maintains a business-friendly business environment and supports business start-ups,” the report added.

Commenting on the index, Ali Al Mudaifa, Director of Investments at the Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “Bahrain’s high ranking among countries in the region reflects the business-friendly environment and the forward-looking regulations. future of the country. We have exciting plans ahead of us under the Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to attract $2.5 billion worth of investment into the country by 2023 through improving our overall business ecosystem.

Businesses in Bahrain enjoy a range of competitive advantages and opportunities, which can be identified and leveraged with the support of the EDB team which has the expertise and resources to get businesses off the ground. These competitive advantages include the country’s 45% operating cost savings compared to the rest of the region and its pioneering regulations, as evidenced by Bahrain’s ranking 2nd in the world for tax burden in the Index of Economic Freedom. of 2022.

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