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Bahrain has made a significant jump in the Global Soft Power Index 2023, climbing 18 places to secure a top 50 spot for the first time. The index, published by chartered accountancy and brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance, surveyed more than 110,000 people across more than 100 countries to evaluate perceptions of 121 nation brands worldwide.

Bahrain rose from the 68th position in 2022 to the 50th position in 2023. This is due to an eight percent increase in its index score from 32 to 40 over the same period. The kingdom’s brand value has also seen a significant increase of 16 percent to $27 billion this year.

The index, which considers a wide range of factors including business and trade, governance, international relations, culture and heritage, media and communication, education and science, the character of the nation, and promotion of its values, surveyed perceptions of nation brands by the global public across 35 attributes grouped under eight pillars.

Bahrain scored 3.5 in familiarity, 5.9 in reputation, 3.9 in influence, 4.5 in business and trade, 3.8 in governance, 4.1 in international relations, 3.4 in culture and heritage, 3.5 in media and communications, 2.9 in education and science, 3.9 in people and values, and 4.4 in sustainability.

According to Brand Finance chairman and chief executive, David Haigh, another important aspect of Soft Power is its ability to foster economic development and prosperity. “Nations can leverage Soft Power to attract foreign investment, enhance trade, promote tourism and invite talent. All of those can help create jobs and boost economic growth in both partner countries,” he explained.

Dr. Omar Al Ubaydli, director of economics and energy studies at the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat), attributed Bahrain’s rise in the index to the nation’s foreign policy, which emphasizes tolerance and peaceful coexistence, as well as exchange programs that enhance soft power, such as visits from influential figures like Pope Francis.

The United States reclaimed the top spot in the ranking, with an all-time high score of 74.8. The United Kingdom held on to second place, with an increase of 2.4 points to 65.8. The United Arab Emirates achieved the highest score among Middle Eastern nations, with a jump of five ranks to secure 10th place in the global ranking.

Bahrain’s significant jump in the Global Soft Power Index 2023 is a testament to the kingdom’s efforts to enhance its Soft Power and build a positive image worldwide. The increase in Soft Power allows the country to attract foreign investment, boost trade, promote tourism, and invite talent, which ultimately helps create jobs and foster economic growth.