We live in an increasingly digital world. But what does this mean for Bahrain? As we navigate the new normal in the era of COVID, digitalisation remains key. While digital transformation has been expediated by the pandemic, diversification efforts throughout the Kingdom have been ongoing for several years. In fact, Bahrain’s effective response was only made possible because of a pre-existing world-class digital infrastructure, data-driven solutions and strong digital connectivity.
For example, the government’s “Cloud-First Policy” was a concerted effort to migrate all its services to the cloud. The Kingdom was also chosen by AWS for the launch of its first Middle East ‘region’ and hyperscale data centre, providing a solution for organisations to store and transfer data more efficiently. We were among the first in the GCC to roll out nationwide 5G too.
For a digital economy to thrive, advanced regulatory frameworks are imperative, particularly when it comes to unleashing the international data economy. Collaborating with the World Economic Forum to produce the WEF Roadmap, Bahrain set out to create an invaluable tool that includes country-level policy building blocks designed to harness the benefits and minimise the risks of cross-border data sharing. By following the recommendations, policymakers can build best-practice legislations and harness the economic and social benefits of data-reliant technologies.
There are vast opportunities for those that successfully invest in digital technologies. The best businesses strike the right balance between rules and guidelines without hampering innovation. That’s why Bahrain is prioritising STEM education; encouraging investment in technology, R&D and local innovation; as well as encouraging a regulatory environment where knowledge and training transfer can thrive.
Bahrain’s tech-savvy population, strategic location, advanced digital infrastructure, adoption of public clouds and training for Bahrainis looking to acquire cloud skills have been key to attracting partnerships with global leaders in their fields which have bolstered the local ecosystem.
Earlier this year, Citi Bank inaugurated their first MENA technology hub at its premises in Bahrain, which is one of the most advanced in the region and aims to create 1,000 coding jobs over the next ten years. Citi cited the availability of diverse local talent, the Kingdom’s commitment to innovation and the digital economy, and Bahrain’s forward thinking, attractive regulations as key reasons for establishing the hub in Bahrain. As we look into a post-pandemic future, the need for digital solutions will continue to rise. That’s why remaining at the forefront of digital transformation is an achievement the Kingdom is proud of – and one it will continue to focus on today, tomorrow and beyond.