In 2022, the Kingdom of Bahrain scored high on a vast number of global rankings and reports for business environment, foreign direct investment and talent, affirming the Kingdom’s keenness to enhance its competitive investment environment on regional and global levels, in line with the priorities and objectives of the Kingdom’s Economic Recovery Plan.
The Kingdom ranked first in MENA for financial freedom, investment freedom, and trade freedom (Heritage Foundation – Index of Economic Freedom 2022), as well as economic freedom (The Fraser Institute – Economic Freedom of the World 2022). Bahrain also topped the GCC for effective regulations (The Fraser Institute – Economic Freedom of the World 2022), a testament to its forward-looking regulatory framework.
Additionally, the Kingdom ranked 1st in the GCC for the stocks of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) relative to 2021 GDP according to The Information & eGovernment Authority, which stood at 85% of Bahrain’s GDP. It also ranked 11th globally for FDI Greenfield projects (FDI Intelligence of the Financial Times – Greenfield FDI Performance Index Report 2022).
In 2022, the Bahrain EDB, supported by Team Bahrain, attracted over USD1.1 billion of direct investment, a record year for the Kingdom’s investment promotion agency. The investments are from 89 investment projects and are expected to generate over 6,300 jobs in the local market over the next three years. The investments focus on priority sectors, including financial services, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, and tourism.
Commenting on Bahrain’s achievements in 2022, Nada Al-Saeed, Chief of Strategy at the Bahrain EDB, said: “Bahrain’s rankings are a testament to its attractiveness to global investors looking to tap into our region. We’re happy to see the Kingdom top regional and global rankings, resulting from the governments’ continual strides to build a competitive business-friendly environment and attract more direct investment into the country, in line with the objectives set under Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan.”
Nada Al-Saeed noted that the Telecommunications, Information and Communications technology (ICT) and Digital Economy Sector Strategy (2022-20260), which comes as part of developing priority sectors under the Economic Recovery Plan, aims to improve the Kingdom’s overall global position in the e-Participation index of the United Nations (UN) eGovernment Survey. In addition, the Logistics Services Sector Strategy works toward positioning Bahrain as one of the top 20 global destinations for logistics services.
Dr. Faisal Isa Hammad, Assistant Undersecretary of Competitiveness & Economic Indicators at the Ministry of Finance & National Economy, noted the importance of Bahrain’s first-ever ranking in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, which assesses the efficiency of countries in managing their resources to achieve economic prosperity. He highlighted that the Kingdom has been ranked amongst the top ten countries in 56 indicators that measure various fields.
The Ministry of Finance and National Economy closely monitors Bahrain’s ranking in global reports, and conducts detailed analyses and in-depth studies to identify strengths as well as opportunities for improvement in relevant fields.
“These reports help in making data-driven recommendations that are in line with global best practices in order to enhance economic policy. Our team tracks Bahrain’s performance on reputable global reports that evaluate Bahrain’s competitiveness in various sectors, such as business environment, innovation, finance, regulations, policy-making, and human capital,” Dr. Faisal Isa Hammad remarked.
“The data analysis process then contributes to creating initiatives and reforms that have a positive impact on Bahrain’s economy. In order to develop leading policies, we take into account the best global standards and practices implemented in different countries across the world, while also analysing their relevance within the legislative system and culture in the Kingdom,” he added. It is worth noting that Bahrain has also achieved global rankings for the following: 1st for female digital skills training and STEM education plan (The Economist Impact and Meta – The Inclusive Internet Index 2022), 3rd for women with degrees, 5th for skilled labour, and 7th for finance skills (IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2022).