UAE tops economic rankings in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia, which ranked 24th globally, came in third place in the Middle East and North Africa

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The United Arab Emirates landed at the top of Middle Eastern countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2014-15 Global Competitiveness Report, in one year jumping seven spots to 12th place globally and coming in ahead of Qatar, which took 16th place.

Saudi Arabia, which ranked 24th globally, came in third place in the Middle East and North Africa region, ahead of Israel, which came in at 27. Kuwait came in at 40, Bahrain at 44, and Jordan at a distant 64.

The UAE also came ahead of developed economies such as Denmark, Canada, France, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The UAE’s performance in the 2014-15 GCR report is an indication of the broad and concerted national competitiveness strategy and its alignment with the economic and social goals for the country’s welfare and prosperity, according to WAM.

The UAE’s advance marked a stark contrast to countries in North Africa, which has been affected severely by geopolitical concerns. The highest-ranking country in North Africa was Morocco, which came in at 72nd place.

Globally, Switzerland retained the top spot for the sixth year in a row, while Singapore continued to cling to second place. The competitiveness rankings saw the United States climbing up to third place, improving its position by two spots, while Finland and Germany each dropped one spot to fourth and fifth place respectively.

Also in the top 10 are Japan, which climbed three spots to secure the No. 6 berth; Hong Kong and the Netherlands, which retained the seventh and eighth spots respectively; and the United Kingdom, which improved one spot in the rankings to reach ninth place. Sweden came in last among the 10 countries leading in competitiveness.

In Europe, a number of countries that fell victim to the economic crisis including Spain, in the 35th spot, Portugal (36th) and Greece (81st), have seen marked improvements in the functioning of their markets and the allocation of productive resources. However, other nations such as France (23rd) and Italy (49th) continue to struggle, and seem to have been unable to fully engage in this process.

Also still facing challenges in improving competitiveness are some of the world’s largest emerging market economies, with Turkey (45th), South Africa (56th), Brazil (57th), Mexico (61st), India (71st) and Nigeria (127th), all taking a hit in the rankings.

However, China, still the highest-ranked BRICS economy, goes up one position to the 28th spot.

The GCR assesses 144 countries in terms of their ability to provide high levels of prosperity and welfare to their nationals through a series of performance indicators that gauges a nation’s ability to offer a fitting infrastructure for investments.

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