Bahrain ranked 42 globally on Global Opportunities 2020 Index
The Milken Institute has ranked Bahrain third in the Gulf, and 42nd globally in the Global Opportunities Index 2020. The United Arab Emirates has been ranked first in the Gulf and 26 globally, followed by Qatar (38th in the world), then Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman (53 globally), Kuwait (58), and finally Saudi Arabia, which scored 66th on the international level.
The institute said that there are defects in the policies that guarantee the protection of foreign investors in the Gulf countries in general, explaining that although the GCC countries are intensifying their efforts to attract investments to diversify their economies, they are still retreating in many areas that hinder their progress significantly.
The Global Opportunities Index, published annually, examines the economic and financial factors that affect foreign investment activities, as well as the commercial, legal and regulatory policies that Gulf governments use to drive investment. The institute’s report pointed out that this year’s Global Opportunities Index is pivotal for the Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia assuming the presidency of the Group of Twenty, and Dubai hosting the Expo 2020, which indicates highlighting the growing economic development in the region.
The index indicated that a foreign investor can own up to 49 per cent only in some Gulf markets from consumer, retail, health care, services, communications and technology companies, and up to only 5pc of financial services companies. It pointed out: “For example, non-citizens of the Gulf Co-operation Council are not entitled to own lands in Kuwait, and non-citizens may not own more than 5pc of the bank interest without the approval of the central bank.”
It added: “The areas that do not qualify for the foreign investor include the fields of oil and gas extraction, fertiliser industry, fuel distribution, and real estate activities, except for special building development projects.”