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Report | The Report: Oman 2020

The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Sultanate of Oman, making it the longest continually independent Arab country in modern history. The year also marks the passing of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who died on 10 January. He is succeeded by his cousin and the former minister of culture, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.

Report | The Report: Bahrain 2020

Bahrain pioneered oil production in the Middle East beginning in the 1930s, establishing the region’s initial framework for the petroleum industry. Some 90 years later oil and gas operations comprise 18% of GDP, with the economy well diversified to host established financial services and industrial sectors, as well as unique tourism offerings.

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Bahrain 2020

Recent years have seen the promulgation of various laws to position Bahrain as a competitive regional jurisdiction. This chapter reviews these new laws, including Bahrain’s new Law for the Encouragement and Protection of Competition, which came into effect on February 1, 2019. The first dedicated Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) came into force on August 1, 2019. Prior to the implementation of the PDPL, there was no single codified data protection law in force in Bahrain. The Protected Cells Company Law, designed to further develop Bahrain’s financial sector, facilitates local and foreign investment, and promotes the country as a simple, secure and cost-effective place to do business in the Middle East. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Hatim Q Zu’bi, Zu’bi & Partners, Attorneys & Legal Consultants.

Chapter | ICT from The Report: Bahrain 2020

With developed ICT infrastructure, high penetration rates, a tech-savvy population and a business-friendly ecosystem, Bahrain has much to offer investors. The kingdom’s geographically and demographically compact market provides an ideal sandbox for tech companies and start-ups to experiment and roll out pilot programmes, giving it a well-established research and development pedigree. Telecommunications companies in Bahrain face many of the same challenges as providers in other countries, with a decline in demand for voice services, accelerating data consumption and higher investment costs, particularly as infrastructure spending is disproportionately allocated to the rollout of the 5G network. Nevertheless, tech firms and start-ups will continue to benefit from the kingdom’s relative ease of doing business and government support in the form of funding, accelerators and incubators. This chapter contains an interview with Mikkel Vinter, CEO, Batelco.

Chapter | Health from The Report: Bahrain 2020

With its first hospital dating back to the 1890s and a universal health care system in place since the 1960s, Bahrain has long had solid fundamentals for care provision. The coming years will be characterised by the continued rollout of Sehati national insurance system. Further infrastructure development will also remain a focus as the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Medical City takes shape. The kingdom is enhancing its research and development capabilities with initiatives from the Ministry of Health to establish the Bahrain Genome Project, a specialised centre for genetic analysis, and plans to open the $1bn King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Medical City in 2021.

Chapter | Education from The Report: Bahrain 2020

Bahrain’s public education system marked its centenary in 2019, making it the longest-running institution of its kind in the GCC. Since its inception, a range of primary, secondary and higher education institutions have evolved in the country, delivering strong student outcomes. In addition, the government is working closely with universities and the private sector to increase research and development, and improve connections between academia and the business community. The major challenge ahead will be ensuring the sector is able to incorporate emerging technologies and methodologies, so that students at all levels of the education system have the skills and knowledge needed to support the country’s economic diversification strategy and competitiveness.