One of the first Gulf countries to fully embrace the need to diversify its economy, Bahrain continues to benefit from the relative strength and independence of its private sector. Despite a moderate growth outlook and concerns over regional political volatility, business sentiment from C-Suite executives surveyed in Oxford Business Group’s Business Barometer: Bahrain CEO Survey remains positive. Some 63% said they were likely or very likely to make a significant capital investment, with the country’s high level of transparency and strong business environment seen as key to continuing to attract foreign and domestic investment.
Among the GCC countries, Bahrain was in many senses the first to fully embrace the need to diversify its revenue streams away from hydrocarbons. The arrival of banks from Lebanon in the late 1970s gave it a head start in developing financial services and, in particular, offshore investment fund activity. This has stood the economy in good stead, but competition in sectors targeted for diversification, such as financial services, logistics, industry and tourism, has risen dramatically.