Bahrain is a very business friendly country. The nation has a good ranking on the various competition and business-related indices, a no-tax regime and a supportive government. Bahrain also benefits from its location in the Gulf, with most of the major Gulf cities only an hour away, and major European cities seven to eight hours away.
Factors which make Bahrain a Business Friendly Country
1. Track record of being a regional pioneer
Bahrain was the first nation in the Gulf to start male and female education, and now has 95% literacy. Bahrain also was the first Gulf nation to set up a banking sector, and the first to establish a Chamber of Commerce. Bahrain’s government had foresight, when it began the process of diversification of the economy in favour of non-oil industries from 1960 onwards, before any of the other Gulf nations. Bahrain has been the first nation in the Gulf to initiate democratic reforms, embark on a program of privatization, and sign a FTA, or free trade agreement, with the US.
2. Supportive legal framework
a) Bahrain has no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no wealth tax on capital gains, and no withholding tax. There are only a few indirect taxes. In addition, free repatriation of capital, profits and dividends is allowed.
b) The whole of Bahrain is open to business, with no restrictive “free zones”. Bahrain is the only nation in the Gulf offering 100% foreign ownership of business assets and real estate across most sectors.
c) The Bahrain Chamber of Dispute Resolution provides best in class arbitration and dispute resolution facilities.
3. Supportive government
The government provides free and valuable assistance to new businesses, helping them to analyze all the aspects of setting up a business. This support continues even after the business is up and running.
4. Diverse economy
Bahrain offers business opportunities in a wide variety of sectors, such as oil, construction, telecom, retail, banking, and other financial services. Bahrain has the highest FDI to nominal GDP ratio of 3% among the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC nations,
5. Ease of doing business
Bahrain has had a stable rank of 53 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey. Bahrain continues to be the freest economy in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, as per the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. The 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index ranks Bahrain 3rd in the region and 60th overall.