UAE, Qatar ranked as most prosperous countries in the region

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The UAE has once again retained its spot as the most prosperous country in the Mena region, and remains ranked among the most prosperous nations in the world.

The London-based think tank Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index 2016 ranks the UAE first in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and 41st globally (out of a total 149 countries ranked), down from No. 30 in 2015 rankings owing to weaker global oil prices.

Ranked at No. 46 globally, GCC peer Qatar follows the UAE on the prosperity rankings while Bahrain is ranked at #67, and Oman and Kuwait at #70 and #71, respectively. Saudi Arabia is ranked at #85.

The Index shows that the UAE has reached this target, making the biggest absolute prosperity gain over the past decade to sit at the top of Mena’s prosperity rankings.

Success driven by reforms

According to the report, the UAE’s success has largely been driven by reforms to open and diversify the economy.

“Now, after almost erasing the gaps in Economic Quality and Business Environment, the UAE has a smaller overall prosperity deficit than any of the other Gulf states,” the report states.

In fact, the report highlights that the UAE in fact “straddles its traditional Gulf peers and the rest of the developed world” in delivering prosperity.

It states that “a concerted effort by policymakers to seek international best practice has sparked further market liberalisation and a much improved business environment that have helped to close the UAE’s prosperity deficit”.

It notes that, over the past decade, the UAE has galloped on its ‘Social Capital’ parameter – from 51st to 25th, largely as a result of more Emiratis participating in voluntary work in their communities.

In addition, the report asserts that the country has improved in ‘Health’, rising into the top 30 globally as life expectancy climbs.

India, China biggest drivers of prosperity

The report also finds that India and China were the biggest drivers of prosperity over the past 10 years.

“That the biggest gains have been made by poorer countries is unsurprising, but China and India stand out. Together, they account for almost 40 per cent of the growth in global prosperity over the past decade.”

Global prosperity

Global prosperity is at its highest point in the past decade, says the report, which ranks New Zealand at #1 in the world on prosperity, followed by Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Canada.

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Bringing the bottom of the rankings is Yemen (#149), preceded by Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UK is ranked at #10 in the world while the US ranks at #17. Among the UAE major expat-source markets, the Philippines ranks at #60 in the world, India ranks at #104, Bangladesh ranks at #114 while Pakistan ranks at #139.

- Published on 5 November 2016 - With inputs from Khaleej Times

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