V: Exploring Trade and Business Opportunities in Bahrain: Trends and Insights for UK SMEs

09 Aug, 2023 - BCB

Bahrain’s proximity to Saudi Arabia (1 hour by air to Riyadh) and the country’s reputation as a business-friendly destination is well-earned. Bahrain is renowned as a financial services hub, particularly for Islamic finance. The country has established a robust regulatory framework that encourages both domestic and foreign investment. Bahrain’s well-regulated financial sector is attractive for businesses seeking capital and investment opportunities. The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) has played a crucial role in creating an environment conducive to business growth.

Like many countries, Bahrain is also experiencing trends that are shaping its economic landscape such as digital transformation, startup ecosystems, sustainability (green initiatives), E-commerce & retail and economic diversification. In July 2023, the UK and Bahrain signed a GBP 1 billion strategic investment partnership which aims to facilitate investment in sectors such as clean technology, business services and manufacturing. Other sectors in Bahrain offering promising opportunities for UK SMEs and exporters including,

  • Education and Training

There’s a growing demand for quality education and training services, presenting opportunities for educational institutions and e-learning platforms. For instance, Bahrain plans to invest GBP 245 million into new education facilities (18 new schools and 24 academic buildings) by 2030. With environmental-friendly agenda focus for the 42 projects in question, opportunities also emerge for UK SMEs providing innovative solutions around natural lighting and new technologies for energy-saving lights for instance. Additionally, as Bahrain also announced it was looking for collaborations with universities in India for example, it also presents opportunities for UK SMEs offering vocational training, as Bahrain is keen on increasing its technical manpower.

  • Tourism and Hospitality

With a rich cultural heritage and modern infrastructure, Bahrain is focusing on developing its tourism and hospitality sector. In 2022, the kingdom opened the Exhibition World Bahrain (the country’s largest exhibition and conference centre), as its keen to position Bahrain as a MICE hub (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) in the region and attract more international conventions, exhibitions, events & business travellers.

  • Information Technology

Bahrain is fostering a vibrant tech ecosystem, with initiatives like Bahrain FinTech Bay and supportive policies for startups. In Q3 2023, Bahrain granted its first golden licences to five investment projects worth over GBP 1.1 billion, in a bid to enhance the country’s competitiveness and boost growth while encouraging the digital transformation of the economy.

  • Renewable Energy

Bahrain’s commitment to sustainability is driving interest in renewable energy projects, including solar and wind power. Bahrain has been focusing on the development of solar and wind energy projects, as these technologies have proven to be the most viable options for the country’s climate and geographical conditions.

With the Bahraini government also actively promoting private sector participation in the renewable energy sector, the incentives and regulatory support on offer to encourage investment in clean energy projects presents a number of opportunities for UK SMEs that are able to provide streamlined services in areas pertaining to regulatory framework, as a coherent legal framework to ensure the long-term growth and sustainability of the sector remains relatively inadequate.


Whether in finance, technology, tourism, or sustainable industries, Bahrain’s evolving landscape offers a platform for growth and success. For UK SMEs and business looking to expand into the Middle East, Bahrain’s open arms and promising prospects are worth serious consideration.


For more information on doing business in Bahrain, please contact: