With domestic economies in Western European nations performing near their peak, future expectations of a fall in rates of return have emerged. Also, to get the best out of your investments, you need to diversify and spread your risks. In this context, the Middle East is one of the most exciting places to invest your money. Let us look at the prospects of one such small nation, the archipelago of Bahrain.
What Makes the Bahrain Bourse Attractive?
Bahrain has been a pioneer in the Gulf region in diversifying its economy to non-oil sectors, with initiatives started 40 years ago. Authorities have taken several steps to make the country more business friendly, more enjoyable for skilled expatriate workers and more profitable for foreign investors looking to invest in the MENA and GCC region.
- Minimal Taxation: the nation levies no corporate or personal income tax, no wealth tax on capital gains via the Bahrain Bourse , no withholding tax, no restrictions on the repatriation of either capital, profits or dividends on investments and very few indirect taxes.
- Degree of liberalization: This is the only country in West Asia to offer 100% foreign ownership of firms in all parts of its territory, effectively making the entire country an economic Free Zone. This gives great incentive for growth of new businesses and hence investment.
- Sunshine industries: There are six key focus sectors that the country has a strong presence in. These are financial services, professional and industrial services, logistics, education and training, manufacturing and information and communications technology. These industries have great potential for growth.
- Fair arbitration: The nation’s Chamber of Dispute Resolution, in partnership with the American Arbitration Association, provides any entity entering into a contract in the Gulf region and elsewhere a quick and agreeable avenue for settling trade and other related disputes. This ensures certainty in transactions and enforces the rule of law.
- State Assistance: The Economic Development Board of Bahrain acts as the first point of contact and proactively offers help and assistance to investors by providing a team that analyzes costs, infrastructure, workforce needs, regulatory needs, legal formalities, tax structure as well as market opportunities.
- Business environment: The reasons that make the island kingdom such an attractive destination for foreign investment are its extremely liberal business environment, very competitive costs of doing business and living conditions in relation to other GCC countries, its highly educated and skilled workforce that can comfortably interact in English. Upcoming sectors include tourism and healthcare.
By being a key member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain offers a price competitive alternative to other economies its neighborhood while providing access to the wealthy MENA and GCC market.