The United Arab Emirates has been ranked number one in the Arab world for preparedness for the future and digital innovation, a new Future Readiness Economic Index showed.
The UAE also ranked third among 27 emerging global economies after Singapore and Israel, the report, compiled by the Washington-based Portolans Institute in collaboration with Google, showed.
Other Arab countries in the Future Readiness Economic Index’s top 100 include Qatar (35th), Saudi Arabia (41st), Kuwait (65th), Jordan (73rd), Lebanon (88th) and Egypt (89th).
The report – which focuses on four main pillars; institutions and infrastructure, technology, talent and innovation - aims to provide countries with a way of measuring future readiness and serve as a guide to strategy and policy decisions.
Each main pillar includes 15 sub-pillars that monitor government competencies, such as the ability to prepare for the future, embrace digital transformation, invest in human capital, attract talent and invest in research and development.
The UAE secured leading positions in the main pillars of the index. Globally, it ranked third in monitoring skills and the use of modern technologies, fourth in attracting talent and sixth in creating its own talent.
It also ranked among the top 30 countries in 10 sub-pillars focused on readiness, agility, technology, digital transformation and investment in human capital.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear to all countries how vital it is to be future ready and that digital transformation is at the core of economic development,” the authors of the report said.
“Greater digital adoption could help emerging economies generate as much as $3.4 trillion of economic value by 2030,” according to the report.
“That amount of growth would mean a 25 per cent increase in the GDP [gross domestic product] of Brazil, a 31 per cent increase in Saudi Arabia and a 33 per cent increase in Nigeria.”
The report also highlighted the UAE as a global frontrunner in addressing the gender gap in the workplace and in competitiveness of industry.
In the GCC, Saudi Arabia was highlighted as being a hub for talent, digital and technological innovation, innovation and research and development.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Israel was also praised for future readiness, ‘business sophistication’, innovation and a strong pool of in-country skills.