The Kingdom of Bahrain has been a commercial and geographical center in the Persian Gulf since ancient times.
Trade caravans would pass through it on their voyages to and from the Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian subcontinent, and the Far East.
Therefore, Bahrain became famous for cross and transit trade and its citizens became instinctively inclined to engage in trade.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has a long commercial history which reflects the economically open culture that is seen in the country in recent years.
According to the Economic Development Board, Bahrain is characterized by both a legislative sector and a strong financial system that increase its attractiveness to investors.
It also enjoys the freedom to transfer or re-transfer funds, profits, and capital without restrictions, and with a relatively small number of non-tariff barriers.
We bring you today 7 economic facts about the Kingdom of Bahrain:
1. The fastest growing financial center
Bahrain is considered the fastest growing financial center in the Middle East, as the kingdom is based on a free and open economic policy.
According to the Index of Economic Freedom, issued in 2011, Bahrain's economy is the freest in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The World Bank has recognized its economy as a high-income one.
Bahrain's economy is also described as a modern economy, with a solid communications network and advanced infrastructure.
In addition to the presence of many international companies that are based in Bahrain and work in various GCC states.
2. Diversification of income
The economic progress witnessed in Bahrain is due to the government's strategy and its decision to diversify its income sources and reduce dependence on oil.
The government also encouraged domestic and foreign investment in the areas of real estate and tourism. The real estate market in Bahrain is one of the strongest in the region.
Bahrain has also expanded in heavy industries, banking, and tourism recently.
Bahrain is the main banking hub in the Gulf region, in addition to being a center of Islamic finance.
3. Oil and natural gas
Oil and natural gas are considered the only important natural resources in Bahrain, as they fuel the economy and provide about 60% of revenue.
Bahrain has benefited from the oil boom since 2001 to achieve economic growth.
The Kingdom has succeeded in attracting investment from other GCC countries to contribute to infrastructure and projects that aim to improve the standard of living, housing, health, education, water, electricity, and road development.
4. The largest aluminum smelter
Aluminum is the second largest Bahraini product that is exported to the GCC, the Middle East, Europe, the Far East, and South Asia.
The Kingdom operates the largest aluminum smelter in the world and has specialized companies operating in aluminum extrusion and rolling and others to re-build and repair ships.
5. The first chamber of commerce and industry in the Arabian Gulf
In 1939, the first Chamber of Commerce in the Arabian Gulf was established in Bahrain under the name of Public Traders Association.
It was known by that name until 1945 when the name changed to the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce.
It then became known as the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 1967.
The chamber has accompanied the economic development of Bahrain since it was founded.
It had an effective impact in highlighting the importance of the roles of private commercial and industrial sectors in the development process.
Since its inception, the chamber has contributed to the progress of society through the development and support of various economic and trade activities.
In addition, it provided services for these events and expanded its work scope in order to keep up with the objectives of economic growth in Bahrain.
6. Historic touristic destination
The Kingdom of Bahrain receives millions of tourists every year, mostly from the GCC, and others from Britain and the United States.
The Kingdom has many sites that date back to ancient civilizations. As well as modern landmarks, local markets, and gold markets.
Accordingly, tourism in Bahrain has flourished in recent years.
7. The first free trade agreement in the Gulf
Bahrain signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 2005.
It then became the first country in the Arab Gulf to sign such a bilateral trade agreement with the United States.
Under the agreement, tariffs on imports and exports were eliminated and conditions relating to trade in goods and services between them were relieved.
This was to facilitate trade flows and stimulate the flow of foreign investment.
It also included expansion in key sectors of industry and services and to encourage the exchange of experiences to create jobs and drive economic growth in the Kingdom.