Ambitious reforms have accelerated Bahrain’s attractiveness to foreign investors, building on its strategic location, business-friendly ecosystem, and diversified economy, says a new report.
Produced by the global research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group (OBG), ‘The Report: Bahrain 2023’ launched yesterday notes that long-term strategies aimed at further diversifying the economy and boosting inflows are already delivering results and positioning it as a competitive regional player.
Highlighting that Bahrain consolidated its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by achieving 2.2 per cent GDP growth in 2021 before accelerating to 4.9pc in 2022, the report says an Economic Recovery Plan was introduced in late 2021 in an effort to stimulate sustainable and broad-based growth.
Taking advantage of elevated oil prices, this plan aims to improve public finances, catalyse investment in major infrastructure projects, and enhance economic competitiveness through the development of human capital and high-potential industries.
Underlining Bahrain’s bid to put sustainability at the heart of its plans for future growth, OBG’s managing director for the Middle East Jana Treeck said programmes focused on education and training, women’s empowerment and green energy are already paying dividends.
“Bahrain benefits from several competitive advantages, including a strategic location that makes it a natural a gateway into regional markets and a favourable business environment,” Ms Treeck said.
“Looking ahead, we expect long-term strategies aimed at propelling growth in tourism, ICT and other sectors ripe for development to pay dividends, sealing Bahrain’s status as an attractive destination for foreign investment and positioning it as a competitive regional player.”
The country’s guiding plan, Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, aims to enhance private sector growth and promote government investment in infrastructure, affordable housing, human resource development and digital transformation, the report adds.
It explores the policy initiatives and regulatory reforms that are attracting investment in high-potential sectors, including tourism, ICT, logistics and financial technology.
The OBG analysis also shines a spotlight on the kingdom’s manufacturing activities, with a specific focus on the aluminium segment and its pivotal role in supporting the development of Bahrain’s downstream production and export capacity.
“Significantly, non-oil GDP growth is now outpacing that of the oil sector, which will provide a welcome buffer against an expected reduction in global hydrocarbons prices as the kingdom’s efforts to broaden its economic base advance,” said OBG editor-in-chief Oliver Cornock.
“Initiatives such as the Public-Private Partnerships guide, in particular, are proving instrumental in attracting investment for the pipeline of capital projects that will be key in supporting Bahrain’s plans for manufacturing and logistics development.”
Bahrain’s transport infrastructure pipeline is another focal point, with details provided of the major projects that will strengthen connectivity and support the country’s aim to become an international logistics centre – including plans for a new causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Other topical issues examined include plans for navigating the energy transition by increasing the focus on renewables, in line with Bahrain’s 2060 net-zero target, while leveraging its remaining hydrocarbons resources.
The Report: Bahrain 2023 contains an interview with Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, together with a detailed sector-by-sector guide for investors.
It also features interviews with a broad range of high-profile personalities, including Industry and Commerce Minister Abdulla Fakhro, Bahrain Economic Development Board chief executive Khalid Humaidan, Tamkeen chief executive Maha Mofeez, Supreme Council for Women secretary-general Hala Al Ansari, Bapco Energies Group chief executive Mark Thomas, and Beyon chief executive Mikkel Vinter.
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