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Dubai: The UAE is one of the most advanced digital economies in the world, landing in the top 20 globally and first in the Arab world, according to the latest report.

The new edition of IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2018 released on Tuesday, showed the UAE moving up in the overall list from the 18th to 17th place and beating Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, France and Japan, among many other developed economies.

The latest ranking also showed that the UAE remains the leading nation in digital competitiveness within the Middle East or Arab region.

The ranking covers 63 economies. It seeks to assess the extent to which a country adopts and explores digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general.

Overall, the major economies in the Western world, such as the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Norway, continue to dominate the global rankings. Singapore is the only Asia country to make it to the top ten.

Top 20 digital economies 2018

1.United States
2. Singapore
4. Denmark
5. Switzerland
6. Norway
7. Finland
8. Canada
9. Netherlands
10.United Kingdom
11. Hong Kong
12. Israel
13. Australia
14. Korea Rep.
15. Austria
16. Taiwan
17. UAE
18. Germany
19. New Zealand
20. Ireland

As artificial intelligence, automation or the so-called Internet of things continue to play a vital role in the way economies operate, the UAE has been stepping up its game in the area of digital transformation.

Only late last year, two landmark digital initiatives, the Dubai Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy and the Digital Wealth Initiative, were launched. Through the Dubai IoT Strategy, Dubai hopes to set up the world’s most advanced IoT ecosystem in the world.

Among the major projects unveiled only recently, at least 18 smart gates at Dubai International became fully operational in January 2018, providing more convenience to travellers.

The Dubai International airport also witnessed on Monday the uneviling of the first interactive, technologically advanced digital kiosk that seeks to lure in the hundreds of thousands of transient flyers passing through the emirate's main passenger hub.

According to IMD, the UAE’s improved ranking in digital competitiveness comes as a result of the country’s continued developments and increase adoption of digital strategies in various projects and initiatives implemented across UAE. 

The country ranks first globally in business agility, third globally in regulatory framework and fourth globally in terms of talent.

“The UAE improves its overall digital ranking in 2018, to reach 17th place. Although this is a slight increase, we see some good performance in various sub-factors included in the report,” said professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre.