Manama: Bahrain has seen major advances in the contribution of women to the economy, a report into the Kingdom’s economy has revealed.

The Bahrain Human Development Report, produced by the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found that on average women earn the same as men and that more than 50 per cent of companies registered in Bahrain are now founded by women.

Such success has been recently recognised by the World Bank that placed Bahrain first in the Mena region in its Human Capital Index and found that women performed better than men overall.

Bahrain is largely seen in the region as a champion of women’s economic, social and political empowerment.

The report released late on Tuesday highlighted the Kingdom’s success in diversifying its economy and in recognising the importance of environmental concerns.

Bahrain’s progress towards its own 2030 targets, first set out in 2008, has been achieved while incorporating the global targets laid down in the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2015, it said.

“The authors of the report should be commended for their highly detailed analysis of the Bahraini economy,” Derasat Chairman Shaikh Abdullah Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said.

“Their findings validate the many years of hard work from across the public and private sectors to deliver a more successful and inclusive economy for the people of Bahrain.”

The report’s authors emphasised diversification and sustainability as the two areas crucial to the success of the Bahrain economy.

The diversification of the economy has gathered pace as government-instigated reforms have encouraged the growth of sectors such as finance, technology and logistics. Addressing environmental issues ensures the highest possible living standards for future generations.

“Bahrain is a nation that enjoys very high levels of human development and yet like many other countries also faces challenges across the development spectrum,” Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said.

“Bahrain’s economic vision 2030 already demonstrates a commitment to addressing those challenges and my hope is that this Human Development Report becomes an important touch stone for informing policymakers and partners alike in Bahrain.”

Bahrain, which established the region’s first banking system, is home to the biggest Islamic Finance industry in the region and has significantly pivoted away from being an oil-led economy.

The oil and gas sector represents only 18.4 per cent of the economy while financial services contribute 16.7 per cent of GDP and manufacturing 14.5 per cent, the report said.

Bahrain is now home to nearly 400 financial institutions and the region’s first and biggest FinTech incubator, FinTech Bay.