Doing Business in Bahrain

February 15, 2018

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island country in the middle of the Arabian Gulf. It is comprised of over 30 islands and shares maritime borders with Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Most of the industries in Bahrain are based on oil, but the country has expanded into the tourism and telecommunications industries to make use of their geographic location and infrastructure.



Arabic is the official language spoken in Bahrain. Bahrani Arabic is a dialect spoken in the capital city, Manama, and some Bahraini villages. The dialect is also popular in parts of Oman.


Standard Arabic is used in the media, schools and government. English is a required second language in most schools and is used in business. Farsi, Urdu and Malayalam are also widely spoken.

Business Culture

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In Bahrain, family is the foundation of social structures. Here are some tips for doing business in Bahrain:


  • Family loyalty comes before all other social and business relationships.
  • Favoritism is viewed positively because it ensures the employment of people who can be trusted, which is crucial in this country.
  • Bahrainis prefer to do business with people they have a personal relationship with. You may be required to make several visits to gain trust.
  • You have to be patient if you are dealing with locals in Bahrain, impatience is viewed as a bad trait and will negatively affect business dealings.



Bahrain has been an important commercial and geographic center in the Arabian Gulf since ancient times. International trade convoys passed through the Gulf, the Mediterranean, the Indian subcontinent and the Far East. Bahrain is therefore known for its transit trade.


Bahrain has an open economy and their currency (Bahraini Dinar) is the second highest valued currency unit in the world, after the Kuwaiti Dinar. Bahrain has a successful financial sector and the capital city, Manama, is home to many large financial companies.


The country is now generally peaceful and there is no threat of any potential adverse political unrest that could impact the country's economy.

Business Laws and Regulations


Bahrain's legal system is influenced by Egyptian law and is mainly based on French law.


There are certain business activities that are reserved for Bahraini nationals and companies. Companies that fall under these categories must have Bahrainis as majority shareholders.


Foreign companies that don't want to purchase land in Bahrain may lease it from the government.


Bahrain does not trade with countries where there is a United Nations measure that prohibits trade with that country. They also ban all dealings with Israeli citizens and entities. In 2017, Bahrain severed diplomatic ties, cut trade and stopped transport links with Qatar.


For more information on the laws and regulations of doing business in Bahrain please see, Doing Business in Bahrain.

Future Outlook


Bahrain and other members of the GCC continue to be impacted by low oil prices however, they are taking steps to lessen this impact. The Economic Development Board currently targets five priority sectors for investment: financial services, manufacturing, logistics, information and communications technology and tourism. This has caused many international companies to begin investing and expanding in Bahrain.


Bahrain is also determined to build a national fiber optic broadband network, which will reach 95% of households and 100% of businesses by the end of this year. They are also focused on the expansion of public waterfront developments, improving access to cultural sites and large scale development projects from the private and public sectors.

Further Resources from GPI

You may gain further insight into country specific cultural facts and related topics by reviewing some previous blogs written by GPI:



Please feel free to contact GPI at with any questions about our translation services. Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in future blogs.



Country Specific
Bahrain, GCC, doing business in Bahrain, MENA region

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Ahmed is a native Arabic speaker from Egypt, Cairo. He has over 12 years’ experience in the translation and localization field working as a Hebrew – Arabic translator and editor. He has also held positions for language Testing Engineer and Localization Project Manager. Ahmed has extensive experience in handling large volume translation projects for software and document localization. He has worked for a range of translation and localization groups and companies including Microsoft, Babylon, Saudisoft, as well as several governmental authorities. He holds a B.A. degree in Translation and Interpreting from Faculty of Alsun Ain Shams University and additionally is a certified Hebrew - Arabic translator with a High Translation professional diploma from the same faculty. He is a published author translating news articles and writing political analysis with contributions to an array of research centers and newspapers including AL Aharam, Beirut Political Centre, Aldiplomasy Magazine, and Lindro Italian News, to name a few. In his free time Ahmed likes swimming, shooting and reading about new ideas.