Bahrain was ranked the freest economy in the MENA region for the second consecutive year in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. The kingdom secured the 18th position in the global index of 178 countries. A host of factors determine how free an economy is. Foreign investors form a significant and driving force of a free economy and so is the case with Bahrain. Manama, Bahrain, the capital city, is fast becoming one of the most preferred destinations for foreign investors who are thinking of investing in the nation’s economy.
An Investor Friendly Environment
Manama, Bahrain, is connected to Saudi Arabia through a causeway and to other GCC country by road, air and sea. The capital city is well connected globally through its international airport. Apart from infrastructural support, the government has also made efforts to craft policies to support foreign business investors.
· Liberal Tax Policies – There are no corporate or sales tax. There is no VAT as well. There is zero taxation for private companies, few indirect taxes for private enterprises and individuals.
· Ease of Doing Business – When you decide to invest in the economy of Bahrain, the Economic Development Board helps to analyse the costs, infrastructure, workforce requirements, regulatory, legal and tax issues as well as market opportunity for your business model. You can also hope to get full assistance during the entire licensing and registration procedure. One of the other things that makes it favourable for you to do business is that you can freely and fully repatriate both capital and profit. The country also has an investor friendly legal framework.
· Foreign Ownership – The country allows 100 percent ownership of business assets and real estate in most sectors.
· Access to Modern Financial Services – The country boasts a 40-year-old financial sector. Global banks like Citibank and Standard Chartered enjoy significant presence.
· Low Cost of Basic Amenities – The government provides subsidies on basic amenities of water, electricity and gas. The utility sector has also been privatised. You can also choose from low cost office spaces and industrial areas.
· Favourable Visa Policies – The country has crafted fast procedures for visa approval. It has also increased the number of countries from which whose individuals will be given visa electronically or otherwise.
· Educated Workforce – The country boasts an educated and bilingual workforce. This will help you build a strong and long-term sustainable Bahraini workforce, thereby minimising cost of hiring expat professionals.
Some of the key investment sectors in which you can invest and set up shop in Manama, Bahrain, are financial services, professional and industrial services, logistics, education and training, manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, construction, consultancy, packaging, FMCG, food & beverages, tourism & leisure, among others.