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Better in Bahrain: Gulf Region’s best ICT market also its most affordable

Digital EconomyICT

We all know it’s a good time to be in the information, communications and technology (ICT) industry in Bahrain. ICT businesses in Bahrain benefit from this nation’s digital focus and fast-growing, highly connected and pro-business environment, that is championed from the top. Bahrain’s Government has prioritised ICT and has deliberately built a fast-reacting regulatory environment to promote the sector.

But now, a new report from KPMG shows that it’s not only better in Bahrain for ICT businesses, but also cheaper — ICT businesses enjoy a 15% to 20% cost advantage in terms of annual operating costs when compared to other GCC countries. So, what makes Bahrain such an attractive and affordable destination for ICT businesses seeking to expand in the Gulf Region?

There are a number of important factors at play – namely, cost and talent.

For example, in the United States, startups are finding new domestic footholds in cities such as Pittsburgh and Denver, which offer highly educated workforces and lower direct costs compared to San Francisco and New York. In the Gulf Region, a similar trend is playing out as startups with international ambitions find significant savings and a deep pool of talent by basing their operations in Bahrain as opposed to neighbouring countries.

Cost savings in Bahrain can be significant. Commercial office space rentals are nearly half the average for the Gulf Region, and businesses in Bahrain benefit from the lowest operating costs in the region.

These cost savings trickle down to the men and women powering businesses setting up shop in Bahrain.  We offer the second lowest cost of living in the Gulf Region. Accommodation costs, utilities and transportation costs consistently rank among the lowest in the region But we couple this affordability with an open and liberal lifestyle with an integrated expat community consistently ranked near the top of international measures.

We are a family-friendly nation. We have the lowest cost of schooling for British and American curriculum compared to Dubai, which has one of the highest costs of schooling. Not only that, but Bahrain also ranks above Saudi, Kuwait and Oman in both primary and higher education as per the 2017-18 WEF Global Competitiveness Index.

Of course, there’s much more to Bahrain than cost savings. Our nation is diverse – boasting an incredibly high volume of women in tech. We’re Cloud First, hosting Amazon Web Services’ first Middle East Region that will open up a wide range of new companies to the benefits of cloud-based technology. Our nation is a hotbed of innovation and growth, home to the most liberalised and competitive ICT sector in the Gulf Region.

In Bahrain, ICT businesses truly do get what they pay for – that, and so much more.

John Kilmartin

Executive Director – ICT at Bahrain EDB