Population (2017): 1.4 million
GDP (2017): US$34.9 billion (S$47.1 billion)
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2018): 66
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2017): S$522.4 million
Bahrain is an attractive foreign investment destination in the Gulf. Economic reform measures by the government to diversify the economy have yielded both a range of investment opportunities and a good business environment for international enterprises interested in the region. According to the Bahrain Economic Quarterly (BEQ), Bahrain’s real GDP grew by 3.9% in 2017, with the non-oil economy expanding by 5%, making it the fastest growing country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)1. According to International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, this trend is projected to continue
1: Bahrain Economic Development Board, 2018
Oil and aluminium are Bahrain’s two largest exports, and the government continues to seek new natural gas supplies as feedstock to support its expanding petrochemical and aluminum industries. At the same time, Bahrain is also actively pursuing the diversification and privatisation of its economy to reduce its dependence on oil. It has nurtured successful hospitality, retail and banking sectors, particularly in the area of Islamic finance.
With readily-available skilled labour and competitive costs, Bahrain serves as an ideal gateway for international companies wishing to access the lucrative Gulf markets. It is also well-connected, ranking 7th worldwide for market connectedness based on international and domestic transport infrastructure links and level of service1. According to Bahrain's Economic Development Board, the Khalifa Bin Salman Port boasts the fastest clearance time in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
1: Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2017
The Bahraini government recognises the need to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment to maintain the nation’s continued prosperity. Unlike its Gulf neighbours, Bahrain has limited energy assets remaining for export purposes. As a small non-OPEC oil producer with little ability to expand output, the government is aware of the country's vulnerability to fluctuations in global oil prices. It has therefore put considerable effort into non-oil development in the past decade, and it is currently one of the more diversified economies in the region, providing investors with a wide range of opportunities.