The manager of Startup Business in Bahrain Economic Development Board general, Pakiza
The (GCC) Gulf Cooperation Council, governments are tentatively starting to reopen their economies. Restaurants are once more accepting bookings for socially-distanced, outdoor dining; offices are becoming busier and even border restrictions are gradually loosening. According to fahad, one among the busiest crossings within the Middle East , which connects Saudi Arabia to Bahrain – is now allowing the passage of passengers with precautionary measures. Allthrough the golf cooperation council governments are surveying the economic impact of strong , regionwide lockdown and quarantine measures. Now they’re turning their attention to the longer term , to the question of recovery and driving sustainable economic process .
Actually before paradigm was adjusted effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were felt, the GCC was undergoing a serious upheaval. Near unprecedented economic diversification efforts were already underway as governments across the region raced to realign their economies faraway from hydrocarbons and towards the fast-evolving needs of the digital era. Forward looking regulations which encourage innovation, like “Cloud First” policy implemented in Bahrain, are being introduced along side the localisation of emerging digital trends so as to match our unique needs within the GCC. Increasingly, the main target has shifted to small business, with the expansion and attraction of startups, scaleups and SMEs coming to the foreground of regionwide strategies to create tech and startup ecosystems from scratch.
Look to Saudi Arabia where now SMEs constitute a staggering 99 per cent of companies and supply 64 per cent of total employment within the Kingdom. Under Saudi Vision 2030, the dominion plans to boost the contribution of SMEs from the present 20 per cent of GDP to 35 per cent by facilitating their access to funding and inspiring financial institutions to allocate up to twenty per cent of overall loans to them. and appearance to the UAE, where last year the Ministry of Economy estimated that the SME sector represents quite 98 per cent of the entire number of companies operating within the UAE and contributes some 52 per cent of non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) – a figure the ministry wants to extend to 60 per cent by 2021. In Bahrain too, SMEs have proven to be a key pillar within the economic diversification strategy, also as playing a serious role in job creation and emerging as an increasingly significant contributor to national GDP. This prompted a recent Cabinet decision to spice up public spending within the sector.
unprecedented support packages to mitigate the consequences of Covid-19. for instance , the Bahrain government recently announced plans to subsidise electricity bills for SMEs to the tune of BHD24 million ($63.7 million) to assist bolster national economic process . This was followed by an announcement from the Bahrain Tender Board in August that within the half of the year it had awarded a record 47 public tenders worth a combined $21.8 million to SMEs within the Kingdom.
There was certain regionwide surge in finiacial registration. It have seen triple-digit increases in recent months with tender boards across the region awarding tens of many dollars in contracts to those enterprises. In Bahrain, the amount of economic registrations soared by 109 per cent in June alone. In other words, governments are doubling down on their support for what was already a priority segment for many major GCC economies and that we are now seeing the results: an SME and startup “boom” driven by a replacement wave of entrepreneurs and business people emboldened by clear government support for little business in these uncertain times.
Governments must not lull in their support. It important to certainly identified startups as key drivers of sustainable economic diversification. Now, small business are going to be the engine of the Gulf’s post-lockdown recovery too.