UNDP Microfinance Assessment Report: Bahrain

What is the present and future of microfinance in Bahrain?

'What is the present and future of microfinance in Bahrain', UNDP microfinance assessment reports take a full perspective of national economy, politics, culture and the climate for microfinance. Their contents are structured around 9 common components of which three are microfinance specific. The components are:

  • Executive summary;
  • Political and administrative structure;
  • Socio-economic situation;
  • Cultural context;
  • Finance and banking;
  • UNDP country office;
  • Donor and international NGO Interventions in microfinance sector;
  • Potential and demand for microfinance;
  • Abbreviations, acronyms, currency equivalents, fiscal year, official poverty indicators.

Finance and banking

Currently, there are 19 full commercial banks, 45 offshore banks, 23 investment banks, 11 Islamic banks, 2 specialised banks, 38 representative offices, 25 foreign exchanges, and 20 insurance companies. There is a comprehensive set of financial services available and most have bank accounts of some kind - they are required in order to receive welfare payments. An informal strategy of exchange - the acceptance of post-dated cheques as financial tender has created payment options, as well as problems.

Interventions in the microfinance sector

There are currently no microfinance services available to people in Bahrain. This is possible because a complex web of NGOs and family/community relationships provides welfare services to those who need funds for survival or social obligations;

Potential and demand for Microfinance

Potential clients interviewed listed handicrafts, ceramics, embroidery, knitting, photography of weddings, construction equipment, carpentry, tourist activities, computer repair, selling of spare parts, production of sweets, beauty salon operation, cold stores, and traditional herbal/cosmetic shops as examples of activities they would undertake if they had sufficient start-up capital.

About this Publication

By Wilkinson, E. & Atti, A.