Findings of the Arab World Competitiveness Report were shared at the WEF Middle East meeting in Jordan. As defined by the WEF, competitiveness measures the ability of a country to grow in the medium term.
“The Arab world urgently needs institutional reform and extra investment in education if it is to create enough jobs for its youthful and growing populations.” — WEF AWC Report
During 2012-2013 some Arabian countries such as Qatar and the UAE, improved their competitiveness to join the ranks of some major global economies. On the other hand, the ranking of Egypt and Yemen fell, because of social and political unrest which marred business activity.
In the overall world competitiveness chart rankings, Switzerland tops the list, followed by Singapore and Finland. Hong Kong is ranked ninth on the competitiveness list. Qatar managed to improve its position by one place and was the highest ranked Arab country at 11th place. Saudi Arabia lost ground by one rank, placing on the 18th position. Oman (32nd), Bahrain (35th) and Kuwait (37th) also featured on the list.
The UAE also made encouraging progress, rising three places to 24th position, ahead of major economies such as China, Turkey and Brazil. The UAE economy was lauded for its diversification compared with Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The UAE’s competitiveness was driven by high quality infrastructure, efficient capital markets, strong macroeconomic stability and a transparent government system. These factors were viewed as important to attract interest of global investors in all sectors of the economy.
“The UAE is now an innovation economy.” — Margareta Drzeniek, WEF lead economist
The WEF report suggested; “Leaders in the Arab world who embrace the challenge of lifting competitiveness and enabling private sector growth could look forward to a ‘win-win’ scenario of higher employment and greater social stability”.