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UAE and Saudi Arabia rise in global competitiveness

UAE is on Top 10; Saudi Arabia climbs seven spots to the 17th place on World Competitiveness Index 2023

UAE and Saudi Arabia rise in global competitiveness
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

The strategic efforts to invest in economic reforms, business environment, and infrastructure and foster innovation in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are bearing fruits – both countries witnessed the sharpest rise in the 2023 World Competitiveness Index (WCI).

Securing the 10th rank on the Index in 2023, the UAE maintained its top position among the countries of the Middle East region for the seventh year in a row. This is the first time the country has made it to the Top 10 on the WCI. The country moved up two places from 2022, stated the Index released by the International Institute for Administrative Development (IMD) in Switzerland on Tuesday. 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, applauded the achievement. “Leading the world in the global trade axis and in several indicators such as city management, energy infrastructure, the government’s ability to adapt to changes, the absence of bureaucracy, and others. Its outstanding economic performance also ranked it fourth in the world,” he said, extending his greetings to the countrymen. 

Climbing up seven places from last year, Saudi Arabia secured the 17th rank on the Index. The kingdom made significant progress in the last two years, from 24th in 2022 and 32nd in 2021, due to its economic performance, government efficiency, and business environment.

The two countries surpassed their G20 peers, like South Korea, France, and India, while overtaking nations like Japan, Italy, Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, and Turkey.

The WCI looks into 336 criteria to analyze and rank countries according to how they manage their competencies to achieve long-term value creation. 

“Navigating today’s unpredictable environment requires agility and adaptability. Countries that excel are building resilient economies, such as Ireland, Iceland, and Bahrain,” said Christos Cabolis, chief economist at the IMD’s World Competitiveness Center. “The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Singapore are also key examples of this,” added Cabolis.

This year, Denmark stood first on the Index, followed by Ireland in the second position and Switzerland in third. Among other countries in the Middle East region, Qatar secured the 18th rank while Bahrain the 25th.

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