Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Global market beckoning for Bahrain...
By CerebralWaste Published: 16 April 2006 Gulf Daily News
When I was back in Bahrain last year, I attended a craft show at Bapco Club, Awali, where artists and vendors from around the island gathered to sell their products to the local community.
I must say the quality and quantity of the talent in Bahrain is truly amazing. But in this issue lies the rub, and hence the problem.
These small business people, artists and craftspeople are limited in selling their products basically to people in Bahrain. The possibility of selling successfully on the web is all but a dream to most.
There is simply no reliable mechanism to reach a broader market place because these merchants are hampered by an inability to accept payments from anyone else unless they meet face to face. The world is a small place and is growing smaller by the day, yet for the most part, talented artists, craftspeople and small merchants are being shut out and cannot reach a global market place without having a reliable and secure method to accept payments from other parts of the world.
Economic liberation and freedom can be given a good solid push if Bahrain, the financial and economic centre of the Gulf, would submit itself for approval with the world's largest person to person payment company www.PayPal.com
Paypal allows people to literally transfer cash for a business transaction via email for a small fee, without being required to open a credit card merchant account.
In a nutshell, a Paypal account is a scaled down version of a credit card merchant account that is used primarily for Internet-based transactions.
This ability to be paid instantly via an email confirmation allows the small local merchant to compete with the larger business on not only a local or regional scale but GLOBALLY.
Fast payment allows for faster completion of the transaction. The seller gets his or her money instantly and the product gets shipped out the door.
If Bahrain can become an approved PayPal company, economic doors to the world would then be open for the small individual business person to sell his or her products to potential customers around the world.
Utilising such online marketplaces like eBay, Overstock.com, Amazon, Yahoo or their own individual website, doors that as of now, that are all but closed to the people of Bahrain would then be open.
Bahrain needs to get this economic door open and the sooner the better. Allowing its citizens to be able to harness the economic power of the Internet would place Bahrain a step above other nations in the region and more importantly boost the raw potential and open markets that are currently closed to all but the biggest in business.
Currently citizens of more than 55 countries are eligible to use PayPal and over 96 million accounts are active around the world, and the number is growing by the day. But not one country in the Middle East has been approved.

Thanks to SBG this was my second article as a guest columist to published in the GDN and I don't think it will be my last either. This one hits at a subject that is near and dear to me and that is ECONOMIC freedom. A freedom most in Bahrain don't have, but is within grasp IF the political will is there to take the steps needed to open up the doors that are now closed. I hope someone will do what needs to be done and let the FREE MARKET create economic opprotunity for those who could use it. All the other parts of the economic equation are in place. All that is needed for some good solid growth in the small business marketplace is a cheap and reliable manner to transfer payments from one party to another and the desert will bloom with the entrepreneurial success that Bahrain is capable of achieving.


Blogger tooners said...

This is a GREAT article and so very true! We experienced this same problem when we came to the States a few wks ago. Our Paypal acct. had expired and since our address is in Bahrain, it would not be possible to get or extend our acct. But, thankfully, my mom gave us her credit card and we were able to update my Flickr acct that way and not worry w/ Paypal.

It's a shame that this is the case - since my husband is a composer and has had offers from ppl, lately, who want to purchase his last album (which was possible when we lived in the States), but since we live in Bahrain now, he's unable to do the transaction w/ them because he can't accept their payments thru Paypal and our Paypal acct isn't working. It makes it literally impossible for him to sell his albums on his own so it puts you in a funk really.

He sells a lot of his stuff thru garageband and CD Baby, but you get the whole 'having to bundle up your CDs' and send a huge stack to them every single time, which is a pain in the arse, but it works.

It would be so much easier if Paypal could be accessed in Bahrain. That would make life so less dramatic!

April 18, 2006 5:36 PM  
Blogger Cerebralwaste said...

You are not alone Tooners. If Paypal was able to be used in Bahrain, your husband and 1000's of others in Bahrain could 1) start a new business and be on the path to economic idependance 2) EXPAND their current business to a WORLD WIDE market. It is sad that not one country in the Middle East and the GCC region are PayPal approved. If there is one country in the region that should be PAYPAL approved it is Bahrain. Let us both hope that this issue gets resolved and the sooner the better.

April 18, 2006 5:56 PM  

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