The UAE leads the Middle East and North Africa region on multiple economic indexes, a status it continues to sustain via investments on infrastructure and a streamlining of regulations. There is plenty of evidence to support the regional position in this ever competitive world.
For instance, the UAE is ranked 13th on the 2016 Logistics Performance Index (LPI), which is commissioned by the World Bank. It provides classification of 160 countries and where they stand in terms of their logistics sector. Germany leads the world on the index thanks to its highly integrated infrastructure.
The variables taken for the index involve customs efficiency, the quality of transport infrastructure, and ease of arranging shipments at competitive prices. Others include the general nature of logistics services like trucking, shipping, customs brokerage, smoothness and the timing of shipments to consignees at scheduled delivery times.
Dubai stands out in the area of connecting importers and exporters in the global markets, a fact boosted by its many ports and airports. Numerous countries find it absolutely necessary to do business with and via Dubai.
In addition, the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, which provides rankings for 180 nations, ranks the UAE as tenth worldwide. It is placed in the “mostly free” category. Hong Kong tops the index and followed by Singapore.
The Heritage Foundation and the “Wall Street Journal” publish an annual study that accounts for the roles played by private sector establishments in the economy. The UAE is recognised for promoting entrepreneurial initiatives with the government lending support via enhanced infrastructure and laws.
The index relies on a number of factors such as property rights and freedom from corruption; regulatory efficiency, labour and monetary freedom; limited government, and open markets for trade and investments.
The UAE is ranked third best on the 2017 Change Readiness Index, behind Switzerland and Sweden. Produced by KMPG International, the index focuses on readiness of countries to encounter sudden shifts in economic, political, societal and environmental conditions. It has three major variables, namely enterprise, government plus people, and society capabilities. Countries like companies must prepare for change.
Moreover, the Gulf state is ranked 21st on the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), produced by Transparency International. This translates into the UAE performing better than numerous EU member states. It explores issues of corruption in official transactions, access to illicit acquisitions, embezzlement among senior officials, undue material returns as well as the quality of punishment imposed on violators.
Undoubtedly, staying at the top requires ongoing investments. This is taking place in the UAE. The Expo 2020 has Dubai preparing for an influx of people. Another major development relates to the opening of a terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport in 2019, which should almost double passenger throughput to 45 million per year.
When competition is global rather than local, the UAE is staying ahead of rivals by constantly improving its business laws, developing innovative concepts and employing the latest in technology.
Dr Jasim Ali is a Member of Parliament in Bahrain.