The collaborative roles of the government and private sector to foster innovation in Bahrain

Date06 January 2020
Publication Date06 January 2020
AuthorMarjan Modara,Alex Bennet,Vincent Ribiere
SubjectPublic policy & environmental management,Environmental technology & innovation
The collaborative roles of the
government and private sector to
foster innovation in Bahrain
Marjan Modara, Alex Bennet and Vincent Ribiere
Institute for Knowledge and Innovation South-East Asia (IKI-SEA),
Bangkok University, Bangkok, Thailand
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the government and private sector collaboration by
focusing on their roles in influencing the innovation activities crucial for the development of a knowledge
economy (KE) in Bahrain.
Design/methodology/approach A qualitative methodology based on an explorative single multi-unit
case study strategy was used with individual and focus group interviews as primary sources of data
collection. Perspectives of 22 individuals and three focus groups involving participants working in private,
semi-government and government sectors that influence the economy of Bahrain were collected along with
reports and articles published regarding those sectors as second sources of data compilation.
Findings The preliminary findings show that Bahrains pursuit of a KE has already begun by the
government developing policies and regulations for the financial sector to innovate in financial technology
(FinTech). It was also found that in order for innovation processes and products to be developed further in
Bahrain, the government had to play a stronger role in promoting, facilitating and incentivizing those
processes and developments. The role of the private sector emerged as the sole producer of innovationand the
main entity responsible for producing innovative products and services that would inject direct values into
the commercial economy of the innovation ecosystem.
Originality/value This is the first study that examines the influence of collaboration between the
government and the private sector on innovation development in Bahrain. This research also provides an
assessment tool that can serve as the groundwork for studies in the Gulf Cooperative Council countries since
those countries share similar culture, language, religion and a hydrocarbon-dependent economy as Bahrain
and are aiming to develop KE strategies.
Keywords Innovation, Bahrain, Knowledge economy
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The kingdom of Bahrain is a small country in the Arabian Gulf, where oil has been the main
source of economy since its discovery in 1932 and home to the first oil refinery in that region
in 1936. According to the Economic Development Board (2017), Bahrain has long been a
pioneer of economic diversification in the Gulf region and continues to record substantial
progress despite a stern global recession since 2009, local political encounters in 2011 and oil
production dips in 2012.
Bahrains leaders in the year 2007 found their economy standing at a crossroads where
future economic growth depended on whether they were able to make major modifications on
several levels to keep stride with the competition regionally and worldwide. The National
Strategy Developmentunder the title of Bahrain 2030 National Planning Development
Strategies was published in 2008 as The Economic Vision 2030 For Bahrain.Init,Bahrain
conveyed that by the year 2030 its economy would be converted to a knowledge-based economy.
The researchers strived to shed light on where Bahrain stands a decade after drawing
that vision, to assess where Bahrains potential in the new economy is and evaluate its
readiness to establish knowledge activities. To build its knowledge economy (KE), Bahrains
government must plan a system that stands and relies on many aspects such as investments
in intangibles and building high human skills, while undergoing a long progression of
developing regulations and policies in order to encourage those investments. With a specific
World Journal of Science,
Technology and Sustainable
Vol. 17 No. 1, 2020
pp. 112-124
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/WJSTSD-07-2019-0044
Received 9 July 2019
Revised 7 September 2019
Accepted 3 October 2019
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