Frequently called the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf, Bahrain has a history of civilizations that date back more than 5,000 years.
Bahrain is the ancient site of the immortal land of Dilmun, and was the religious centre to Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, as proven by many archaeological excavations.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of low lying islands located in the Arabian Gulf off the Eastern shore of Saudi Arabia.
Many legends surround the land – the multitude of ancient burial grounds here gave rise to the title “Isle of Eternity,” before modern archaeology explained them as a legacy of Dilmun times; centuries upon centuries of human habitation packed into one compact site.
Writings of the ancient Sumerians refer to Dilmun as a pure and sacred place where sickness and death do not exist, a paradise land of sweet waters.
The area does in fact have fresh water artesian and under seabed springs, rich in minerals and especially fluoride – known locally as sweet-water. These have sustained life here since the Ubaid civilization of Neolithic times 6000 years ago.
The sweet-water springs may be the basis for the legend of Gilgamesh; a Sumerian epic of a quest for immortality from the flower of life (pearl) which leads to Dilmun, the “land of two seas”.
From the mists of time to a vibrant present Bahrain thrives under a stable and prosperous government.
Today, the modern Arabic name “Bah-rain” still retains this meaning – “two waters”, it’s landscape is a tapestry of marvelous old sites and colorful traditional markets dotted between modern skyscrapers and buildings.
While relatively small in population, land area and resources, Bahrain has achieved a high level of social and economic development over a short period of time.
• Land Area 770sq km
• Population 1,101,230
• Key Sectors:
◦ Financial services
◦ Value-added manufacturing, Industrial services
◦ Professional services
• Main export Oil, Aluminium
• Currency Bahraini Dinar (USD 1 = BD 0.376)
• Time zone GMT +3
Bahrain has taken substantial measures to enact reforms and create the most open, favorable business conditions to make this possible. Fortunately, by virtue of its strategic location, Bahrain has the advantage of being an ideal gateway to the Gulf market. We understand that we have to do what it takes to create the most competitive and business-friendly environment for business. Bahrain will always focus its efforts on the building of foundations, ahead of the building of landmarks.
It is through this commitment to building for a better future that Bahrain has come to be the most mature, well-established business hub in the Gulf, providing the most free, open, liberal, transparent environment for businesses and communities. Bahrain has maintained its position as a globally competitive base for business thanks to its focus on sustainability, skills, and good governance.
Bahrain is committed to the rule of law, free markets, and democratic principles; serving the needs of many; and above all, ensuring the long-term, future prosperity of its people
So, why must you make Bahrain your first choice for your MENA business operations?
- Gateway to Middle East ; best market access to the growing Gulf economies. Bahrain itself is a thriving, stable but relatively small market. It is, therefore, important for investors to understand that Bahrain is about more than the Bahraini market because Bahrain is the gateway to the Gulf and the best location to develop opportunities in the Middle East, with particularly favorable access to Saudi Arabia. Businesses in Bahrain can take advantage of Bahrain’s market strategic location in the region, excellent transport network and an unspoken but well-understood reputation for cultural neutrality that has led to widespread acceptance by other markets (Singapore’s access to East and Southeast Asia is a comparable example). World-class companies like American Express, BNP Paribas, DHL and Kraft have selected Bahrain as their ideal base for regional operations, from which to access the Middle East market, specifically the Gulf’s stable and growing markets.
- Middle East’s freest market; liberal business environment; respect for rule-of-law. Bahrain’s free markets mean that businesses are allowed to operate freely, with minimal red-tape and foreign ownership restrictions. At the same time, Bahrain has a tried-and-tested legal and regulatory environment, which investors can trust to protect their interests in a fair, open and transparent manner. Furthermore, Bahrain has a liberalized labour market. Bahrain’s economy has long been the freest in the Middle East and has steadily improved its ranking worldwide, ranked the 16th, ahead of G7 economies such as Germany, France and Japan, as well as the major developing markets like China and India.
- Track record; experience; maturity. Beyond 4,000 years of history as a trading civilization, Bahrain’s modern international business credentials stretch back several decades, considerably longer than neighboring markets. Bahrain’s financial services sector has been thriving for over 40 years. In contrast, neighboring financial centers such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was opened in 2004 and the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) was established in 2005. With these years of experience comes a certain dependability, sustainability and business wisdom which is unique in the Middle East, enabling Bahrain to set the record for Middle East regulations. Bahrain has prudently diversified its economy and carefully tended to its growth, so ensuring that expansion remains steady and sustainable. In these uncertain times, Bahrain’s decision to take the more prudent path of reform - by investing in the future, and not simply trading opportunistically in the present - has proven a wise one.
- Open society; highest quality of life. Bahrain is an open, tolerant and welcoming society that has long respected people of all cultures, ethnicities, denominations and genders. Expats living in Bahrain are well-integrated with Bahraini nationals in both professional and social circles. Bahrain also has the richest heritage and culture in the Gulf with a history that dates back 4000 years. With its transformation from the Dilmun civilization, to the Portuguese reign, to the Islamic era, Bahrain is the home to many ancient ruins, museums, antique book collections and classical Arabic homes. Today, its melting pot society, boutique restaurants, thriving arts scene and café culture gives Bahrain an authenticity and culture that is unique in the Gulf. Low inflation and sustainable growth also mean that quality of life is among the highest in the region, especially for families. Women in Bahrain were the first in the Gulf to enroll in schools at the same time as men, and today hold high-level positions in business and politics and enjoy fair and equitable social freedoms.
- Cost competitive; value-oriented. Bahrain offers the best value for money – with the lowest taxes and operating costs for businesses which base their operations in Bahrain. At the same time, Bahrain gives the highest quality of life to employees and their families.
- Most educated, skilled Gulf workforce. Quality of growth depends more than anything else on quality of people. And the people of Bahrain are dependable. The Bahraini business sector is supported by the most productive, highly-skilled national work force in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Bahrainis are five-times more productive than the average GCC National according to the Conference Board Report, and approximately two thirds of the financial services workforce is Bahraini. Tamkeen (formerly the Labour Fund) has already spent $100m to provide over 18,000 Bahraini nationals with sector-specific skills training. The Government has introduced education reforms that will continue to improve education and skills in line with the requirements of the private sector, adopting best practice from some of the world’s most successful educational models. In addition to colleges and universities, there are vocational institutes prepare youth to enter a workforce with a practical skill related to specific trade. Several institutes in Bahrain have been successful in endowing learners with skills that related to tourism, technology and hotel management.
In conclusion, why not make Bahrain your first choice for your MENA business operations?
Welcome to Business Friendly Bahrain.