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KINGDOM UP 14 POSITIONS GLOBALLY

Nada Al Saeed

Bahrain tops MENA in financial freedom third year in a row

MANAMA, March 28, 2024

Bahrain has ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in trade, investment, and financial freedom for the third consecutive year according to the 2024 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Heritage Foundation, Washington's leading think tank.

With an economic freedom score higher than the world and regional averages, Bahrain’s overall performance additionally improved on a global comparative, climbing 14 positions since last year.

Nada Al Saeed, Chief of Strategy at Bahrain Economic Development Board (Bahrain EDB) said: “Economic freedom, backed by sound regulatory environments and market openness are strongly linked to achieving progress and sustainable economic growth.

“Securing top rankings and achieving a robust performance across pivotal indices of the Heritage Foundation cements Bahrain’s established position as a financially liberal and open regional hub of trade and maintaining these favourable standings remains our priority at Bahrain EDB as we work towards ensuring the island nation remains attractive to investment.”

By assigning weighted scores and analysing macroeconomic data across 184 economies, the 2024 Index assesses both quantitative and qualitative factors across four key pillars to determine economic freedom, namely rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and open markets.

Bahrain performed well across several pillars, where the overall investment framework was found to be streamlined, positive, and transparent, where both foreign and domestic investors were determined to have facilitated access to a wide range of financial services.

Bolstered by a well-institutionalized and efficient regulatory environment, Bahrain’s business freedom and monetary freedom score were additionally determined to be higher than the world average.

The Heritage Foundation 2024 report stated: “Despite the challenging global economic environment, the country (Bahrain) continues to be a dynamic business hub. Its openness to global commerce is sustained by a competitive regulatory environment.

“Enhancing the foundations of economic freedom by further improving the rule of law and fiscal policy remains critical to ensuring the country’s ongoing evolution.”

With its long history as a trading hub, Bahrain has demonstrated a vested commitment to diversifying its economy and fostering a business-friendly investment environment, prioritising the development of a robust, digitally ready economy, and consistently pioneering regulatory policies and legislative frameworks to ensure its international competitiveness.

Over a span of two decades, Bahrain’s economy secured an impressive average annual growth of 8%, surpassing the global average of 5%, wherein nominal GDP increased from around $10 billion in 2002 to over $44 billion in 2022. – TradeArabia News Service

 




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