Where is the easiest place in the GCC and Arab region for starting a business? Bahrain has long been at the top of this list because of its open and straightforward processes; lack of excessive bureaucracy and progressive regulatory environment. This is what has allowed Bahrain to be consistently recognized as one of the top 20 most open economies in the world.

However, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa has just made this process even easier by launching the Sijilat Commercial Registration Portal, which consolidates Bahrain’s position as the fastest place in the Gulf to start a business and one of the fastest in the world.

The Sijilat portal is particularly aimed at foreign investors and businesses wanting to gain a foothold in Bahrain. For businessmen who are confounded by the complex and opaque processes for launching a business in some states, Bahrain’s new system eliminates the need for paperwork altogether and integrates all relevant government organizations’ processes under one system.

The Crown Prince said that the reform would “support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will allow the private sector to create sustainable wealth and high-value jobs now, and for future generations.” 

“We have long recognized that sustainable economic growth is driven by the private sector” he added.

As Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, the Crown Prince has long been a champion of Bahrain’s economic prosperity and efforts to streamline and stimulate the economy even further.

The Sijilat system allows foreign companies to register their business in Bahrain in “less than a day”. With the process being so straightforward and so potentially lucrative, why would you not open a business in Bahrain?

Why should businesses consider Bahrain?

  • Bahrain’s private sector has continued to flourish against the backdrop of challenging economic conditions facing the rest of the region. Bahrain’s non-oil sector of the economy grew by 3.9% for 2015.
  • Several economic sectors are doing exceptionally well. The hospitality sector measured 7.3% growth in 2015; construction was at 6.4% and the social and personal services sector underwent 6.9% growth.
  • Bahrain has been the most successful oil-producing state in the region in diversifying away from oil. The Bahrain’s oil sector’s share of GDP fell to just 19.7 percent in 2015. The value of Bahrain’s non-oil goods exports in 2015 was approximately $17.5 billion; representing around 19% growth since 2010.
  • There is massive investment in the infrastructural, construction and tourism sectors: Total value of tendered projects reached $ 3.8bn by March 2016, partly underpinned by the GCC Development Fund. 
  • KPMG’s 2015 Cost of Doing Business report highlights the competitive advantage of Bahrain’s financial sector. The report discovered that costs for financial services in Qatar and Dubai are respectively 46% and 37% higher than in Bahrain. Rents, labour costs and living expenses are much lower in Bahrain.
  • The tourism sector continues to boom. Arrivals increased by 8% during 2015 – around 14.5 million visitors.
  • Bahrain’s financial sector is demonstrating remarkable strength. Financial institutions experienced 8.3% growth in levels of employment and the sector as a whole increased its workforce by around 3% in 2015. 
  • Bahrain remains in first position in the Middle East in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. Bahrain is ranked 18th globally.
  • Agility’s 2016 Emerging Markets Logistics Index – out of the 45 countries it assessed – ranked Bahrain the seventh most connected emerging market, given its “excellent domestic and international transport infrastructure”. 
  • In the Environmental Performance Index, Bahrain held first position in the GCC.

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