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Bahrain ranked highest for economic freedom in Arab world

Bahrain is the most economically free Arab nation, followed closely by Kuwait and Lebanon, according to the Economic Freedom of the Arab World: 2009 Annual Report.
The peer-reviewed report produced by the Fraser Institute, one of Canada’s leading economic think tanks, along with the International Research Foundation of Oman and the Cairo office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, was released November 14 at the annual meeting of the Economic Freedom of the Arab world in Marrakech. The meeting attracted delegates from nations throughout the Middle East.
This is the first year enough data was available to include Bahrain in the rankings, which had the best overall score of 7.9 out of 10. Kuwait and Lebanon, which finished first and second in 2008, tied for second with a score of 7.8 this year. Oman is fourth with a score of 7.7.
“The closeness of the scores of these top four suggests a virtual tie for the overall top spot since all four countries are within 0.2 points of each other,” said Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute director of globalization studies.
“Although the Gulf States have achieved the highest level of economic freedom in the Arab world, this is not necessarily due to their oil wealth,” McMahon said.
“Wealth from oil production and export presents a great temptation for governments to overspend and crowd out private-sector economic activity but the Gulf States have worked to open their economies internally and externally to world trade and this is a credit to governance in the region.”
Economic freedom is based on the cornerstones of personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property. Research shows that individuals living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy higher levels of prosperity, greater individual freedoms, and longer life spans.


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