Information Communications & Technology

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Information Communications & Technology

“Bahrain provides one of the most energetic environments for software development and solutions fi rms. Its talented workforce and forward-thinking policies enable companies to carve ambitious strategies for their business and broaden their regional presence.” - CP Gurnani, President of International Operations at Tech Mahindra, India’s 6th largest software exporter.
 
Our information and communications technology (ICT) sector’s liberal business policies and advanced infrastructure make us stand apart in the Middle East, both as a thriving domestic marketplace and as a base for accessing the growing regional market.
 
Bahrain’s high mobile and Internet penetration rates create opportunities, as does the fact we are a leading financial services centre. When it comes to tapping the region’s robust ICT growth, you benefit from our proximity to the Middle East’s largest markets, as well as our innovative ICT policies and status as the Arab world’s freest economy.
 
All of this explains why leading global ICT companies are selecting Bahrain as their base in the Gulf, and why inward investment increased by 12% 2012-131. Other reasons would include low costs, our position as an excellent testing ground for local markets and our large number of free trade agreements.
 
These companies aren’t alone: the UNCTAD World Investment Forum ranks Bahrain sixth globally for inward investment on a per capita basis.
 
Best access to Gulf telecom and technology growth:
 
We give you the best access to the Gulf’s growth market for ICT products and services. This includes mobile, with one of the world’s highest penetration rates at over 120% and projected 10.2% CAGR growth to $6.47 billion by 20202. Positioned between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which are investing heavily in diversifying their economies, we are an ideal base for companies seeking to tap into rising regional ICT spending.
 
During the recessionary period of 2008-2009, while global ICT spending contracted, ICT spending in the Middle East grew by 6.6%; in the GCC, government and private sector ICT spending is forecast to reach $318 billion by 20153. Governments also plan to lay an additional 60,000 kilometres of fi bre-optic cable as part of a $2.5 billion investment aimed at developing world-class telecommunications networks4.
 
Bahrain is the closest country to Saudi Arabia, and all of the Gulf markets are less than an hour’s flight away. Access to every market in the Middle East is quick and efficient – by air, road and sea. By 2020, forecasters have estimated that the Gulf economy of 36 million consumers will have expanded to be worth $2 trillion5.
 
A regional pioneer:
 
Having identified ICT as a key strategic sector for Bahrain, the government’s policies have made us a regional leader in the development of telecommunications and the Internet.
 
Bahrain’s commitment to the sector and its infrastructure are widely recognised. We were ranked in the top 30 countries worldwide for the fifth consecutive year in a leading international technology report, and first in the region for networked readiness. The report also ranks Bahrain fourteenth in the world for the use and development of ICT and tenth for the number of Internet users6.
 
The 2009 Total Country Connectivity Measure (TCCM) report, commissioned by the Arab Advisors Group, found that Arab broadband Internet markets have registered very positive growth. The TCCM is calculated by adding the household mainline penetration, cellular penetration, and Internet users’ penetration rates in each country.
Of the 19 countries surveyed across the Arab world, Bahrain ranked second7.
 
In 2013, Bahrain launched a nationwide high-speed 4G network (LTE – Long Term Evolution) enabling download speeds up to 100 Mbps faster than the previous 3G mobile network.
 

ICT companies in Bahrain include:
 
Cisco ​Hewlett-Packard
Microsoft Huawei 
Software AG ​TATA Consultancy Services
​Tech Mahindra ​Zain
​Viva (Saudi Telecoms) ​Menatelecom
​Batelco ​WIPRO
​2Connect ​Kalaam Telecom
1Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain Economic Quarterly, June 2014
2Frost and Sullivan
3Kuwait Financial Centre – Markaz GCC ICT 2012
4IDC Middle East and Africa Government Sector Top 10 Predictions, March 2011
5Economist Intelligence Unit, The GCC in 2020: Outlook for the Gulf and the Global Economy, March 2009
6World Economic Forum, The Global Information Technology Report 2014
7Arab Advisors Group, 19 August 2009