Bahrain has been voted one of the best locations in the world to live and the top choice in the Middle East and Africa in the world's largest global survey of expats. The 2009 results of the independent Expat Experience poll, commissioned by HSBC Bank International, reveal the Kingdom is one of the friendliest expat locations with the fifth best quality of life worldwide and the very best social life.
In the overall rankings, Bahrain (5) is placed ahead of the likes of the UnitedSates (8), Hong Kong (10), Malaysia (11), Japan (16), China (22), the United Kingdom (23) and India (25). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) came 18th and Qatar 26th. And while the report revealed the general downside of expat life to be the social scene, Bahrain topped the global league table for "social life". The Kingdom also leads the world in offering improved working hours; ease of organising healthcare; and the number of expats who have joined local community groups.
Andrew Trevis, plant director of Kraft Foods Bahrain, added: "The lifestyle in Bahrain is very good. This is a free country that is not at all restrictive. The fact that you can enjoy a high quality of family life is a strong selling point." Bahrain was also ranked in the top five countries worldwide for: -- "Finding somewhere to live" (2) -- "Organising my finance" (3) -- "Education / childcare" (4) -- "Setting up utilities" (4) -- [Quality of] "Household goods" (4) -- "Making friends" (5) -- "Organising school for my children" (5)
Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), which has the overall responsibility for creating the right climate to attract foreign investment, said: "In Bahrain we have made a commitment to creating an attractive business environment for international companies looking to access the trillion dollar market of the Gulf. This continues to create exciting opportunities for both expats and Bahrainis alike. For those moving to our country, we know the factors they face when organising a new life. And this report shows that Bahrain is not just the ideal location to do business in and from, but a great place to live as well."
Bahrain has adopted a long term strategy of economic diversification which - together with the enviable economic growth rates still enjoyed by the Gulf andMiddle East and North Africa (MENA) region - holds significant opportunities forinternational business. The approach is enshrined in Bahrain's Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy, both committed to maintaining the optimum business environment that will attract foreign investment and ultimately elevate national living standards by creating greater opportunities for Bahrainis.
The Expat Experience poll surveyed 3,146 people working in 30 different industries and 50 countries. Now in its second year, the report examines expats' experiences integrating into local communities, their quality of life and the opportunities and challenges faced living away from home, providing a unique insight into how expat life differs across the globe. It is the second of three reports to be produced from HSBC's "Expat Explorer" research. Results from the first part of the survey released earlier this year found Bahrain eighth worldwide for expats' "economic" quality of life.