Stock Abu dhabi skyline city
Abu Dhabi skyline. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ‘The Global Competitiveness Report Special Edition 2020 finds that the UAE is one of the countries that is relatively more resilient to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: High information technology adoption, a powerful financial system that can support SMEs, and strong policy stability places the UAE among countries that are making the fastest recovery from the impact of COVID-19, according to the World Economic Forum.

The findings are part of The Global Competitiveness Report Special Edition 2020: How Countries are Performing on the Road to Recovery. In this special edition, the WEF has suspended its Global Competitiveness Index rankings due to extraordinary response measures taken by governments following the pandemic outbreak and  recession. The 2021 edition will see a return to benchmarking, providing a refreshed framework to guide future economic growth.

Road to recovery

This year's edition examines how recovery from the COVID-19 crisis can build productive, sustainable and inclusive economic systems. Countries with advanced digital economies, strong social safety nets and robust healthcare managed the impact of the pandemic more effectively.

This report makes clear the priorities for making economies more productive, sustainable and inclusive as we emerge from the crisis

- Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum

In the WEF’s global ranking of information and communications technology (ICT) adoption, the UAE was ranked second with a score of 92.3 after South Korea. In digital legal framework, the UAE was fourth in the world with a score of 72.5.

The report measures which countries are best prepared for recovery and future economic transformation. It "makes clear the priorities for making economies more productive, sustainable and inclusive as we emerge from the crisis," said Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum. "The stakes for transforming our economic systems simply could not be higher.”

UAE scores

Countries with advanced digital economies and skills have been more successful at keeping their economies running while their citizens worked from home. Those with robust economic safety nets - Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland - were well placed to support those who could not work. Similarly, countries with strong financial systems - Finland, the US, the UAE and Singapore - could more easily provide credit to SMEs to prevent insolvency.

Business sentiment

In advanced economies, business leaders saw increased market concentration, a marked decline in competition for services, reduced collaboration between companies, and fewer available skilled workers in the employment market as the shift to digitally-enabled work accelerated. But they did see greater government response to change, improved collaboration within companies, and increased availability of venture capital.

In emerging markets, there was an increase in business costs stemming from crime and violence, a reduction in judicial independence, further reduction in competition and growing market dominance, and stagnating trust in politicians.

“The health crisis and economic downturn have forced a fundamental rethink of growth and its relationship to outcomes for people and planet," said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. "Policymakers have a remarkable opportunity to shape new economic systems that are highly productive while growing shared prosperity and environmental sustainability,”