The UAE’s ranking in the Doing Business 2019 report, an objective measure of business regulations and their enforcement put out annually by the World Bank, speaks volumes about the efforts of the UAE’s government and its business community to make the country a global leader.
In this year’s index, the UAE ranked 11th, ahead of some of the world’s largest economies. Among the members of Group of Seven (G7) — a grouping of the largest and most advanced economies of the world — only the United States and United Kingdom have a higher ranking. The report judges 190 economies based on 10 categories, with the UAE placed in the Top 10 among half of these.
These results follow the announcement just last month that the UAE had been ranked 27th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018 and a June announcement that the UAE ranked 17th in global digital competitiveness. This trio of rankings shows that the policies and efforts introduced by the government are coming to fruition. The UAE’s success is even more apparent when compared to the rest of the Middle East. Morocco, which ranked second behind the UAE in the Middle East and North Africa region, was globally ranked 60th.
But this year’s rankings are not the end of the road. The UAE must continue to push ahead with reforms that open itself up to global businesses and investments, since — considering the rise in global protectionism — every other country with a serious aspiration to boost its economy is currently seeking to do the same. The same report that shows the UAE’s strengths also highlights what areas it needs to work on.
The silver lining here is that a number of issues in the report are already being addressed. While the UAE did not score on the ease of businesses’ access to credit, a major complaint among small and medium enterprises, those issues are already being addressed by Al Etihad Credit Bureau, which began operating almost two years ago. Similarly, the UAE’s Bankruptcy Law will address the report’s concerns regarding dealing with insolvencies.
But there remain a few areas that still require attention, including the UAE’s 98th rank in the “Trading Across Borders” category, which noted the high cost of compliance. Considering the ongoing global trade war, these issues should be addressed immediately. But overall, the numbers are clear. The government’s commitment to building a global economy is being recognised and solid policies are in place to ensure that its open economy continues to perform at a higher level than even some of the world’s best.