Bahrain ranked number one, alongside the UAE, in the Fraser Institute’s annual report on Economic Freedom of the Arab World. The Kingdom has been ranked first place since 2009, AME info online reported on Wednesday.
In 2012 report, Bahrain improved its overall score to 8.1 out of 10 as to 8.0 in 2011, and topped in a number of categories, including ‘Access to Sound Money’, ‘Freedom to Trade Internationally’, ‘Labor Market Regulations’ and ‘Business Regulations.’
The report highlighted that Bahrain gained strength as a financial hub in the region by its reformation in the access to sound money category, coming first in rank with a 9.3 score, compared to 9.1 in 2011.
The Economic Freedom of the Arab World report analyses and ranks Arab nations in five areas of economic freedom: size of government, including expenditures, taxes, and enterprises; commercial and economic law and security of property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally; and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, Kamal bin Ahmed said “Bahrain’s consistent ranking in first place among other countries in the region reflects the success of the Kingdom’s continued economic reforms. These have been aimed at liberalizing the economy and creating the right environment for sustainable, long-term economic growth as well as job creation.”
Ahmed added that the tested regulatory mechanism and the commitment to international standards offer attractive business opportunities for companies looking to access in the growing GCC market, which is worth over $1 trillion.
Other recent reports also underlined Bahrain's economic assets. Earlier in 2012, Bahrain gained first place in the Middle East and 12th place worldwide in the 2012 Wall Street Journal/ Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index. In September, the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World Index placed Bahrain as the seventh freest economy in the world.