The cost of setting up a business in Bahrain is up to 35% cheaper compared to the rest of the Gulf region, according to a KPMG report named ‘Cost of doing business in Bahrain – Financial Services’.
Bahrain leads on a wide range of metrics in the report, including commercial rents up to four times lower, and staff costs that can be up to 60% below its neighbours. Such figures reinforce Bahrain’s position as the region’s financial centre. The Kingdom was the first country in the GCC to set up a banking system and is now home to over 400 financial institutions, all underpinned by a highly skilled and educated workforce.
The benefits of doing business in Bahrain are not just restricted to certain geographical areas or free zones. Instead, the whole country is subject to the same business-friendly rules, allowing companies to set up wherever they wish.
Such freedom also goes hand in hand with other key components for operating a successful business. Setting-up a company in Bahrain was also found to be quicker and more cost-effective, with the application fees to gain approval as a financial business being lower in Bahrain than in neighbouring countries, while a ‘dealing in investments as principal’ application costs just US$270 in Bahrain, further highlighting the appeal of starting a company in the country.
But, cost-effectiveness is far broader than the input costs that a company director will measure daily. The report also found that more holistic, lifestyle focussed determinants, are crucial to the success of any business.
Bahrain has long enjoyed a liberal society and a cosmopolitan way of life, including offering a competitive cost of living.
In Bahrain, the average cost of living is just US$51,252 a year, below figures seen elsewhere in the region. Moreover, an education in the British and American curriculum is up to 50% less expensive in Bahrain, an attractive option for staff members with children.
The report also concluded that Bahrain is not just competitive in traditional financial services like banking, but also is at the forefront of emerging trends such as Islamic Finance and FinTech. Thomson Reuters placed Bahrain as the leader in the GCC and second globally in its Islamic Finance Development Report published in December 2018.