As in life, among economies, the most seemingly unlikely partners sometimes end up making fantastic teams. This is based on the complementary nature of the benefits that can accrue to each country. Bahrain’s history with India is based on this very evidently complementary factor. Geographic proximity, cultural familiarity and a welcoming ambiance have transformed this beautiful island into a second home for many Indians.
Economically, Bahrain has been a focus for tradesmen and service providers looking for an in-road into the region, or, more often, as an expansion strategy within the Middle East. To me however, the dynamic between these two countries is at a threshold of change with tremendous opportunities just waiting to be utilised. This optimism I have is based on the changes that have been occurring in both countries.
Bahrain is an island economy with demographic and cultural diversity. Indians form a large part of this ecosystem and yet, there is an interesting cultural mix that makes it a very small global melting pot. It is a relatively small market that can act as an excellent testing ground and landing spot – whether for expansion in India or for expansion to the alluring GCC.
Within Bahrain, there is a clear impetus for new industries. Tourism is being given a significant push, as are technology-led businesses. Start-ups are a specific focus and the whole ecosystem to welcome new business and new entrepreneurs in very steadily being put in place. Education and healthcare are at inflexion points. It is an economy waiting for its moment to exhale and welcome the world in.
The country offers opportunities in each sector that it is focusing on.
If you look at healthcare, for instance, core provisions such as doctors, nurses, supplies etc aside; healthcare systems or using artificial intelligence in healthcare could be emerging opportunities waiting for the right partnerships.
In the tourism space too, Bahrain has so much potential that could make it akin to many small destination locations. Being an island with ample sunshine, good infrastructure, a central location and a convenient connection hub makes for a potent combination for tourism. Steadily, the number of resorts with interests in the island has been rising. During the non-summer months, the number of destination weddings in Bahrain has been increasing. Again, a significant opportunity for alliances with India with its geographic proximity and easy access.
In education, Bahrain is now at the inflexion point where private schools are gaining prominence. There is a significant need gap in the affordable, private, quality education space – an area that India has had decades of expertise in.
India on the other hand has been down these paths. Entrepreneurship, start-ups and most industries have been developing and innovating at a rapid place. Technology, of course, is at the forefront in some form or another. The idea to keep in mind, however, is that one of the most essential requirements for a successful business is the ability to identify a suitable market to incubate the project and learn the ropes. That is the biggest opportunity for Bahrain and Indian entrepreneurs alike i.e. the potential that Bahrain could be a relatively safe landing spot for entrepreneurs.
The most basic financial tenet is that risk and reward go hand in hand. Which means, if you’re willing to take it slow, you can minimise your risk, achieve moderate returns and then wait for your moment of glory in the sun. Indians and Bahrain have been interacting for decades; however, it seems the time is ripe to further deepen and expand the scope of the partnership.
You can follow Pria on Instagram at money_cues or visit http://www.i2d-consulting.com to know more about her professional experience.