Bahrain and the UAE ‘enjoy region’s greatest economic freedom’

Bahrain World Trade Centre. (Image source: Johannes Brenner)Bahrain World Trade Centre. (Image source: Johannes Brenner)A report has placed Bahrain and the UAE at the top of a list measuring the level of economic freedom of Arab nations

The Economic Freedom of the Arab World, an annual report produced by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, the International Research Foundation of Oman and Canada’s Fraser Institute, saw Bahrain retain last year’s ranking.

Having improved its overall score by 0.1, Bahrain shared its 8.1 out of 10 ranking with the UAE, which saw its ranking rise from 2011’s 7.9.

Jordan moved into third position from eighth in 2011, having increased its score from 7.4 to 7.9, followed by Kuwait.

Lebanon and Oman shared fifth place on the list with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Egypt taking seventh to tenth positions respectively.

The lowest ranked Arab nations were Algeria (5.7), Mauritania (6) and Syria (6.2).

Five areas of economic freedom are taken into account for the Economic Freedom of the Arab World report.

These are: the size of government, including expenditures, taxes, and enterprises; commercial and economic law and security of property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally; and regulation of credit, labour and business.

The report is based on data from 2010 (the most recent year available) but also examines more recent data to mark out trends for individual nations.

The next report is said to be key as it is will indicate whether or not the far-reaching political changes certain Arab economies have undergone will create greater economic freedom.

While the report measures available data on economic freedom in 22 nations of the Arab League, data limitations mean that overall levels of economic freedom can only be calculated for 16 jurisdictions: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the UAE.

The report, which has been produced annually since 2005, is based on the Fraser Institute's annual Economic Freedom of the World Report, which ranks the economic freedom levels of 144 countries.

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