Western business leaders have a common saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” Fortunately for any entrepreneur who chooses to establish a business in Bahrain, investments within this market drive significantly more value than in other countries throughout the GCC and the world. The low cost of business trickles down to the bottom line, and has allowed a myriad of businesses to scale effectively in Bahrain.
Several reports and surveys point to the fact that Bahrain offers the lowest operating costs in the GCC region. Such savings can be found for firms operating in the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector – where commercial utility costs (electricity, water, broadband and telephone services) range 25 per cent below the GCC average, according to KPMG The cost of commercial rental space in Bahrain also spans significantly lower than our GCC neighbours. Other types of businesses benefit in Bahrain too. For instance, financial services firms encounter operating costs 50 to 55 per cent lower than doing business in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The overall cost of doing business for logistics firms in Bahrain sits 75 per cent lower than for their peers in neighbouring markets.
The numbers speak for themselves, but perhaps the public-private sector collaboration behind them tells a more compelling story. The Team Bahrain approach, our unique, investor-centric method of business support in the Kingdom, allows the government to remain responsive to constraints that impede commercial vitality in other markets.
Don’t simply take my word for it. Businesses from Amazon Web Services to Mondelēz to Citibank have proactively partnered with Team Bahrain and found a welcoming, optimised environment for enterprise expansion.
Earlier this year, the Bahrain Development Bank introduced the Al Waha Capital Fund of Funds, a USD 100 million fund to directly support a vibrant startup ecosystem across the region. So as the ease of access to capital has become an increasingly persistent concern for startups throughout the world. As a greater number of technology firms took an interest in establishing operations in Bahrain, we demonstrated our deep commitment to their success by adopting a Cloud-First approach, which prepares our entire society for a transition toward digitisation – and ultimately efficiency.
Couple that with a high quality of living – a recent survey of expat sentiments by HSBC ranked Bahrain first in the MENA region and fifth in the world as a prime destination for work and life to flourish – the low cost of operation in Bahrain represents the ultimate business advantage. The efforts of our team at the EDB contributes to ensuring this nation remains the pre-eminent location where the potential of any enterprise can be unlocked. As validated by the recent KPMG report, we are doing well at achieving this aim, but we are all aware that more can always be done. As such, I very much look forward to further enhancing Bahrain’s competitive advantage in the future.