For the second year in a row, the Kingdom of Bahrain ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for financial, investment, and trade freedom on the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation. With an economic freedom score of 62.5 (out of 100), an improvement of 0.5 from last year, the score places Bahrain’s economy as the 68th freest on the 2023 index. Bahrain is ranked 4th among 14 countries in the MENA region, and its overall score surpasses the regional and world averages of 56.8 and 59.3 respectively.
In the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom report, Bahrain was highlighted as a financial hub for dynamic economic activity and openness to global commerce, sustained by a competitive and efficient regulatory environment. Additionally, the findings revealed the Kingdom’s overall investment framework to be positive and transparent, with equal treatment to both local and foreign investors.
Commenting on the occasion, Nada Al Saeed, Chief of Strategy at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “Bahrain’s high ranking is a reflection of the government’s success in maintaining a progressive regulatory framework that offers high-yielding opportunities for investors owing to a favourable tax environment, ease of doing business, and unparalleled access to the USD 2.07 trillion GCC market and beyond. Alongside a highly skilled workforce, maintaining this liberal economic environment is a key differentiator in Bahrain’s value proposition as we continue to be guided by the national Economic Recovery Plan and work towards attracting additional investment into the Kingdom.”
As part of a strategic national vision, which has successfully launched multiple projects, the national Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) aims to enhance the Kingdom of Bahrain’s long-term competitiveness and achieve fiscal balance by 2024. A key deliverable under the ERP is to create quality jobs and training opportunities for Bahrainis and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) worth more than USD 2.5 billion by 2023 across key sectors. The Index of Economic Freedom focuses on four key aspects of economic and entrepreneurial environment that governments typically control, namely rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and market openness. In assessing conditions across these four categories, the Index measures 12 specific components of economic freedom, each of which is graded on a scale from 0 to 100. Scores on these 12 components of economic freedom are calculated from a number of sub-variables and then equally weighted and averaged to produce an overall economic freedom score for each economy.