Bahrain continues to be the freest economy in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new report. With an overall score of 73.4, the kingdom ranks 18th in a global index of 178 countries.
Bahrain is well ahead of its fellow GCC states, with the UAE (economic freedom score of 72.4) at 25th spot being the second highest regional economy, says the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.
While the kingdom's global ranking has slipped from 13th last year, it remains the regional leader by a wide margin, according to the Gulf Daily News "GDN"..
Among other GCC countries, Qatar ranked 32nd with a score of 70.8; Oman followed at 56, scoring 66.7; Kuwait was placed 74th with a score of 62.5; and Saudi Arabia ranked the lowest at 77, scoring 62.1.
The report's authors Terry Miller and Anthony B Kim said the fundamental relationship between economic freedom and prosperity is readily apparent worldwide.
'No matter the region, per capita income levels are consistently higher in countries that are economically freer,' GDN reported.