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UAE ranks first in MENA region, ninth globally in IMD's 2021 CWY

17 Jun, 2021

For the fifth consecutive year, the UAE leads the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2021 published by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The UAE also maintained its overall global position, ranking ninth in the top 10 most competitive countries in the world.

Despite COVID-19 complications, the UAE outperformed leading countries, such as the United States, Finland, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France, and is the only country in the MENA region to rank in the top 10 for five consecutive years.

According to this year’s report, the UAE ranked first in 22 indexes, in the top 5 in 62 indexes, and in the top 10 in 120 indexes, out of a total of 335 indexes.

"Today, IMD's WCY came out, and despite COVID-19 complications, we were ahead globally in 120 indexes, ranking first in 20 developmental indexes. The UAE is among the top 10 most competitive countries and the first globally in terms of government adaptability," said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Instead of slowing down government workflow, the COVID-19 pandemic has actually accelerated the UAE’s development, enhanced its legislation and its responsiveness, he added.

Sheikh Mohammed continued, "The UAE has been has been climbing the ladder in most global indexes over the past 50 years.

"The UAE is the first regionally in most developmental and competitiveness indexes, and is among the top 10 globally in 120 developmental indexes, and yet we march on."

The IMD World Competitiveness Ranking ranks 64 economies, covering 20 sub-factors and 335 indexes, and assesses the extent to which a country promotes the prosperity of its people by measuring economic well-being through hard data and survey responses from executives. This year the rankings expose the economic impact of the pandemic across the globe. The report finds that qualities, such as investment in innovation, digitalisation, welfare benefits and leadership resulting in social cohesion have helped economies better weather the crisis, allowing them to rank higher in competitiveness.

On the occasion, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and President of the Emirates Competitiveness Council, said, "The vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has transformed the UAE a global model of government modernisation, through developing human capital. Since its establishment, the country has based its developmental strategy on prioritising people."

The UAE’s leading position in many global competitiveness indexes related to government modernisation underscores the incredible performance of its government entities, and the dedicated efforts of the UAE leadership in providing necessary support, he added.

The UAE is the leading country globally in 20 indexes of the report, ranking first in entrepreneurship, absence of bureaucracy, information security, adaptability of government policy, exports of commercial services, trade to GDP ratio, flexibility of immigration laws, student mobility inbound, community support for competitiveness, meeting the need for economic and social improvements, competent senior managers, as well as in indexes related to environmental laws, availability of skilled labour, lack of labour disputes, and the percentage of females in parliament.

In the report's following 4 main categories, the UAE ranked third in terms of government efficiency, eighth in business efficiency, ninth in economic performance, and 28th in infrastructure.

The country achieved significant progress in many indexes in this year’s report, ranking first in exports of commercial services, rising 28 places compared to last year, as well as first globally in the trade to GDP ratio index, rising 15 places.

The UAE ranked fourth globally in the adaptability of government policy and agility of companies. It also ranked ninth globally in the growth in tourism receipts and the number of internet users sub-indexes, jumping 8 places and 26 places respectively.


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