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UAE and World Competitiveness


UAE in Global Competitiveness Reports

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, congratulated the UAE’s wise leadership on the accomplishments witnessed relating to the Global Competitiveness Index. Sheikh Hamdan expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the ministries and chairmen of the boards of directors within Federal authorities for the fruitful efforts and cooperation that has led to the accomplishment of the following achievements:

  • First place in Public Finance Policies Index in 2015.
  • First place in government efficiency and good management of public finances, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014.
  • First place in "Public Trust in The Government" for the third consecutive year, according to Edelman Trust Barometer 2016.
  • First place in country capacity to attract and retain talent in the MENA region according to INSEAD Index 2015 / 2016.
  • A high rank among the top 10 countries worldwide in global competitiveness.**.

** The UAE has the potential to compete with the developed global economies and join the top 10 list by 2021. The country follows the world standards for government financial fields in terms of good management of public finances, trust in the strength of the economy, and stimulating innovation in the economic sector – a continuation of these strategies will place the UAE in an extremely strong position as the next decade begins.

Through Sheikh Hamdan’s follow-up, as well as the policies adopted by MoF to support excellence and innovation, a large number of achievements were accomplished at local and international levels, and in the field of global competitiveness. The results of reports and indicators, issued by the United Nations, World Bank, the World Economic Forum, International Institute for Management Development (IMD), INSEAD Institute, as well as other specialised international institutions, have shown the UAE achieving leading rankings in more than 40 indicators and standards. The country was among the top 10 in more than 120 indicators and standards in 2014 and 2015.

Global Competitiveness

The impacts of the positive transformation of the UAE’s global competitiveness position are not only restricted to economic scenarios, but also reflect on the country’s stature and position in a variety of sectors. The UAE is able to compete with economies that have been leaders in the competitiveness race for decades, and has secured high-ranking positions among the top 10 countries.

The UAE has joined the list of the best 15 economies in the world, and was ranked amongst the best 20 countries according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2014/15, issued by the World Economic Forum.

In nine out of 12 global reports of competitiveness issued by international institutions, the UAE was ranked 12 in 2014/15, having been ranked 19 a year previously. The UAE accomplished the following achievements in 2014/15:

  • First rank globally in the quality of its roads, the absence of organised crime and having one of the lowest levels of inflation.
  • Second rank globally regarding the FDI
  • Second rank globally in lack of crime impact on the business sector
  • Third rank globally in regard to public trust in politicians and leaders
  • Third rank globally in regard to government procurement of advanced technology products
  • Third rank globally in regard to infrastructure of air transport
  • Fourth rank globally in regard to market efficiency
  • First rank globally in regard to the quality of roads and the index of quality of air transport infrastructure 2015

Ease of Doing Business Index

The UAE took the lead in the Ease of Doing Business Index, securing high ranks globally according to the World Bank report 2014/15 to be among the top 10 countries that made improvements in the area of Ease of Doing Business.

The World Bank Report that measures the performance of 189 countries in the field of doing business has shown that the UAE has maintained, for the third consecutive year, the first rank among Arab countries, and advanced one position in the overall ranking to 31st globally.

The UAE was ranked amongst the topfive countries in the world in three key areas:

  • First rank globally in non-payment of corporate taxes
  • Second rank globally in dealing with construction permits
  • Fourth rank globally in ease of access to electricity

The UAE was ranked the first regionally in the fields of dealing with construction permits, access to electricity, protecting small investors, property registration, non-payment of corporate taxes and contract enforcement. It was also among the top 10 countries globally in the number of improvements approved by the World Bank during one year relating to the aforementioned areas.

Innovation Index

The UAE was ranked first out of the Arab countries and 36 globally in the Overall Innovation Performance, according to the Global Innovation index 2014, issued by Cornell University, INSEAD Institute- the leading international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) of the United Nations.

The UAE also took the lead in the MENA region in a number of pillars of the Global Innovation index report, namely: institutions, political, organisational and commercial environment, human capital and research, education, higher education, R&D, public infrastructure, communication and information technology, environmental sustainability, business development, experienced and knowledgeable employees, links to innovation and knowledge.

This achievement qualified the UAE as a global destination to attract, retain and produce talent. It was ranked 19 globally and the first among the Arab and Middle East countries in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.

Index of Economic Freedom

The UAE was ranked first globally in the annual independent classification on the Index of Economic Freedom 2016 issued by "The Independent Australian" in relation with the performance of global economies.

In rating global economies, the Australian classification relied on collecting points according to several criteria, most importantly the diversity of economic activities, employment rate, per capita income, wealth rates and GDP, in addition to inflation rates, tax rates and economic freedom. The UAE took the lead in this classification from Singapore, which ended in second place this year, while Norway and Switzerland were in third and fourth places respectively.

The UAE was ranked fifth globally and first in the MENA region in the Index of Economic Freedom 2015, issued by the Canadian Institute "Fraser". The country scored 8.15 out of 10 points in the index, while Hong Kong took the lead of global classification of Economic Freedom with a score of 8.97 points.

The UAE improved its ranking by 3 points in the Index of Economic Freedom 2015 issued by The Heritage Foundation, to move up from 28th position globally with a rating of 4.71 points, to take 25th place with a rating of 4.72 points this year. With this achievement, the UAE has surpassed developed countries such as Norway (27), Austria (30) and France (73), and was ranked second in the MENA region after Bahrain.

In the other sub-indicators, the UAE scored the following points:

  • 55.0 points in the classification of property rights.
  • 70 points in the index of anti-corruption.
  • 76.1 points in the index of government spending.
  • 95.0 points in the index of tax freedom.
  • 79.6 points in the index of business freedom.
  • 80.7 points in the index of labour freedom.
  • 81.3 points in the index of monetary freedom.
  • 82.8 points in the index of trade freedom.
  • 45.0 points in the index of investment freedom.
  • 60.0 points in the index of financial freedom.

The report pointed out that the UAE enjoys high competitiveness rates in many aspects of Economic Freedom. Barriers to trade are quite low, and regulations and laws support open-market policies.

Global Prosperity Index

For the eighth consecutive year, the UAE took the lead among Arab countries in the Global Prosperity Index issued by the British institute "Legatum" in November 2015.

The report pointed out that the UAE is ranked first regionally in security, public and community safety and the Human Freedom Index that measures how individuals practice their religion freely in the state. The UAE was also ranked second for regional level opportunities and entrepreneurship, which assesses the country's interest in entrepreneurs and commercial and social initiatives, as well as governance and health.

Happiness Index

Regarding happiness, the UAE was ranked first among Arab countries, and 14 globally according to the UN report on people's happiness and satisfaction index 2013, moving up from 17th place in 2012.

The UAE’s economy has witnessed a quantitative and qualitative prosperity, making it among the top ranks in terms of some of the economic indicators, such as per capita income and per capita energy consumption.

The UAE’s GDP has doubled more than 236 times since the establishment of the Federation 43 years ago, increasing from AED 6.5 billion in 1971 to AED 1.47 trillion in 2014.


Page last updated : 6/1/2016 10:12 AM