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KHALEEJ TIMES, Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 | Safar 11, 1441

UAE among top 25 competitive economies: Report

Emirates: The UAE has climbed two positions in the Global Competitiveness 2019 report to join the top 25 club and maintained its status as most competitive economy in the Arab world for the 4th consecutive year.

The UAE performance witnessed an improvement in 52 out of 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars, calculated in the report launched by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Additionally, the country ranked among the top 5 performing economies in 19 indicators, and among the top 20 worldwide in 57 indicators, i.e., more than half of the indicators included in the report this year.

The UAE, which secured 25th position out of 141 countries included in the global ranking, led the regional ranking, followed by Qatar (29th) and Saudi Arabia (36th). Kuwait has improved the most in the region (46th, up eight ranks) while Lebanon, Oman and Yemen lost some ground, according to the report.

Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri hailed the UAE's advanced ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 as "a new important milestone" that would be added to the many landmark achievements made by the UAE.

"The UAE lead in macroeconomic stability is yet another proof of the vibrancy, strength and resilience of the national economy to ride over challenges facing the world economy today, and to keep abreast of the latest economic development trends," the minister said.

The report, he noted, has recognised the government ability to respond promptly to global transformations and to adopt the most advanced technologies.

"The leadership has adopted an economic model capable of being at the top helm both regionally and globally," Mansouri said.

Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, and Chairman of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, FCSA, said:" We are pursuing the approach set out by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which focuses on hard work and diligence to improve and develop performance in all competitiveness indicators, especially those associated with the UAE Centennial 2071 project, through modernisiation and updating of legislations and streamlining of procedures as well as the adoption of innovation to move up on the scale of global competitiveness and deliver the leadership's vision and sustain development in competitiveness indicators."

Top priority

Abdullah Lootah, director-general of FCSA, said the UAE government gives top priority to the process of continuous improvement of performance in vital sectors including economy, health, education and advanced sciences through which our national economy be able to join the ranks of advanced global economies.

"This will be made possible through continuous development of the economic structure by introducing legislations and resolutions on economic, administrative and corporate sectors which stimulate and accelerate the pace of growth in economic activities, support economic diversification strategy and create an attractive economic environment for both investment and investors," Lootah said.

Shailesh Dash, an entrepreneur and financier, said the UAE has been consistently improving in many parameters and it has been a consistent process thanks to the leadership of the country and their vision. "This is encouraging news for both the government and the private sector to keep up the good work and help in the growth of the country and the various industries," Dash told Khaleej Times.

Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said the UAE offers an excellent environment to investors and businesses and facilitate them through consistent policies and minimum taxation.

"I believe UAE's ranking improved due to safety and security, excellent transport and utility infrastructure, entrepreneurial culture and brand image of UAE to attract the workforce from across the world," he said.

Al Mansouri said the report is sending a strong and reassuring message to partner countries, investors and business community that the UAE economy and its investment environment are safe and can provide all enablers and incentives that ensure their success and expansion and serve their interests.

The Ministry of Economy, he affirmed, would closely coordinate with its federal and local government partners and the private sector, and cooperate with UAE's international partners to launch more innovative initiatives that stimulate and accelerate the national economic development, sharpen national economy competiveness edge driven by diversification, sustainability, knowledge, innovation, technology and scientific research so as to deliver the leadership's vision for building a national economy that achieves prosperity and progress for the UAE people.

Top 5 nations

With a score of 84.8 (+1.3), Singapore is the world's most competitive economy in 2019. The United States remains the most competitive large economy in the world, coming in at second place. Hong Kong (3rd), Netherlands (4th) and Switzerland (5th) round up the top five.

"The Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 provides a compass for thriving in the new economy where innovation becomes the key factor of competitiveness. The report shows that those countries which integrate into their economic policies an emphasis on infrastructure, skills, research and development and support those left behind are more successful compared to those that focus only on traditional factors of growth." said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The average across the 141 economies covered is 61 points, almost 40 points to the frontier. This global competitiveness gap is of even more concern as the global economy faces the prospect of a downturn.

The changing geopolitical context and rising trade tensions are fuelling uncertainty and could precipitate a slowdown. However, some of this year's better performers in the GCI appear to be benefiting from the trade feud through trade diversion, including Singapore (1st) and Vietnam (67th), the most improved country in this year's Index.

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