Bahrain is among the world’s top 10 most economically free nations, according to the annual Index of Economic Freedom published on Wednesday by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal.
The Kingdom is ranked 10th of 183 economies worldwide, up three places from last year to one behind the United States and six ahead of the United Kingdom in the influential rankings. Bahrain remains the most free of 17 nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the only in MENA to have featured in the world’s top 20 since the launch of the Index in 1995. The results of the index come in line with the aspirations of Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 under the guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Chairman of the EDB.
“The report cites a commitment to structural reforms and openness to global commerce that have enabled Bahrain to become a financial hub and regional leader in economic freedom,” said Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
“The findings, which also show Bahrain to have the most improved ‘score’ (+1.4 to 77.7 of 100) of the top 10 countries, reflect the success of a decade of social and economic reforms according to Such reforms are now enshrined in Bahrain’s Vision 2030, the blueprint for the development of the country’s economy, government and wider society over the coming decades,” Shaikh Mohammed added.
“Economic freedom is the key to greater opportunity and prosperity – the ambitions of our Vision 2030. The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom reflects the prudent steps that we in Bahrain have taken to build an open economy based on ethical values. Our plan has always been about building sustainable growth through a sound and flexible economic and fiscal policy, a highly skilled and educated national workforce, diversified economy, rule of law and well-run, transparent regulation. These same measures provide the optimum business environment for companies looking to access the trillion dollar Gulf market.”
The Index of Economic Freedom measures 10 specific freedoms such as Trade, Business, Fiscal, and Financial. Bahrain scores above the world average across all pillars and shows impressive progress in Labour (+7.6) and Investment (+10) freedoms.
The Index also highlights that as one of the region’s least oil-dependent economies – the most diversified in the Gulf – Bahrain benefits from a competitive tax regime; a sophisticated financial sector that facilitates the free flow of capital and foreign investment; a modern communications and transportation infrastructure; reliable regulatory structure; and a cosmopolitan outlook.
Bahrain is also ranked the most economically free Arab nation in the latest Economic Freedom of the Arab World report by leading international think tank the Fraser Institute, having topped the index in each of the seven years since it was first published. Last month the EDB reported that Bahrain’s economy is on target to meet expectations of 4 per cent year-on-year growth for 2010, with year-on-year growth forecast thereafter.