Bahrain Tops Regional and Global Rankings in 2023

Bolstered by its Business-friendly environment, progressive legislation, and highly skilled talent pool

Bahrain has secured high rankings across a considerable number of global indices and reports that analyse the macro environment, quality of the business ecosystem and map Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) statistics, solidifying its status as a trusted global investment hub. With its liberal economic policies and progressive legislative frameworks, Bahrain’s pro-innovation investment climate and highly skilled talent pool continue to attract leading businesses from across the region and beyond across diversified sectors. Backed by best-value operating and living costs, Bahrain’s business-friendly ecosystem encourages business growth and prosperity, earning its capital city of Manama the 1st spot globally in Financial Attractiveness (Global 150 Cities Index 2023, –AIRINC).

2023 marked a landmark year for the island nation, Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB), supported by Team Bahrain, secured a record level of investments upwards of USD 1.7 billion, successfully attracting leading local and international companies to setup or expand their operations. This earned Bahrain’s standing within the top 20 best FDI performers globally on the Greenfield FDI Performance Index 2023, FDI Intelligence.

At the heart of Bahrain’s economic growth lies a thriving financial sector, which has overtaken oil as the largest contributor to real GDP, standing at 18.1% in Q3 of 2023. Backed by pioneering legislation, the financial services sector continues to achieve key milestones and high rankings, notably securing the 1st position globally in Islamic Finance Regulations (ICD-LSEG Islamic Finance Development Report 2023).

Nada Al Saeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain EDB, said, “Securing top scores across global indices is a testament to Bahrain’s financial and investment freedom, business-friendly ecosystem, and highly skilled talent, which continue to support local and international business growth and expansion. Alongside these rankings and recognition, the record-breaking level of investments attracted in 2023 underscores our island nation’s position as a leading destination for investment and talent in the region and beyond.”

Bahrain’s international competitiveness and success in maintaining its ease of doing business, advanced regulatory frameworks, and favourable investment environment were evidenced in several global rankings. This includes securing the position of 10th globally in Policies of Doing Business (Global Innovation Index 2023, WIPO), 1st in the Arab world in Economic Freedom (Economic Freedom of the World 2023, Fraser Institute), and 1st in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Financial, Investment, and Trade Freedom (Index of Economic Freedom 2023 The Heritage Foundation). With its strategic location and solid reputation as an efficient export hub, Bahrain’s unparalleled access to the Gulf market and beyond earned it the ranking of 2nd in the Arab world (10th globally) on the Timeliness subindex (Logistics Performance Index 2023, The World Bank), a testament to its advanced logistics infrastructure.

Dr. Faisal Hammad, Assistant Undersecretary for Competitiveness & Economic Indicators at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy, said, “Bahrain’s commitment to streamlining regulations and continually enhancing  business policies and processes is evidenced in its thriving investment environment, which works towards ensuring every aspect of the business cycle is seamless for local and global companies alike, starting from the ease in setting up, to creating a thriving ecosystem to support sustainable growth or expansion.” Bahrain’s diverse pool of highly skilled talent also received global recognition throughout 2023, performing exceptionally well across several indices, which placed Bahrain 4th globally in skilled labor, 1st in the Arab world in Percentage of Females in the Labour Force, 10th  globally for Talent Readiness and 1st  in MENA in Finance Skills, Employee Training and Language Skills (World Talent Ranking 2023, IMD). Additionally, Bahrain secured the 1st position in the GCC on the Sustainability of Talent (Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023, INSEAD).

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