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The Arab Youth Survey covered 4,000 youth in 17 countries Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Almost no young Emirati has considered leaving the UAE to relocate to another country, suggests the ‘12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey’ released on Tuesday.

When compared to their counterparts in 16 other Arab nations, young Emiratis are least likely to consider moving to another country, the survey, which covered 4,000 youth in 17 Arab countries, said. Just three per cent of Emiratis aged 18 to 24 responded they were either “actively trying to emigrate” or “have considered emigrating”. The next least likely to emigrate are Saudis (six per cent) and Omanis (12 per cent) in the same age group.

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At the other end of the spectrum, a whopping 77 per cent of Lebanese youth said they are trying to, or have thought about, shifting to another country. They are followed by Libyans (69 per cent) and Yemenis (66 per cent). Overall, nearly half of young Arabs across the region say they have considered leaving their country “frustrated with lack of opportunities and corrupt governance in their countries”, the survey said.

Arab Youth Survey Image Credit: Seyyed Llata

Perception on corruption

The bleak outlook, generally, is in sharp contrast to the situation in the UAE, where only one per cent of youth selected the statement “there is widespread government corruption in my country” when asked about what was “closer to your view about your government”. They were followed by Omanis (two per cent) and Saudis (four percent). This could partly explain why these three countries enjoy the most loyalty from their youth in terms of emigration, when compared to other regional nations.

Meanwhile, youth in Yemen (88 per cent), Iraq (76 per cent), Tunisia (66 per cent) and Libya (63 per cent) are most likely to report “widespread government corruption”, the survey added.

Arab Youth Survey Image Credit: Seyyed Llata

‘UAE winning the argument’

The results are in sync with a key finding of the survey that the UAE is the country of choice for Arab youth, whose see it as a ‘model nation’ that their own homeland should emulate. Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, who has written an expert commentary on the finding in the survey’s White Paper, said: “In recent years, the UAE has been promoting a new Arab model of how government and society should interact with a range of individuals and communities based on pluralism, tolerance and diversity. That model stands in contrast to closed-minded, xenophobic and theocratic tendencies in some other regional states. The survey suggests that the UAE may be winning this argument.”

The annual study is an independent research conducted for leading PR agency ASDA’A BCW by PSB, a global strategic research and analytics consultancy, on the opinions of young Arabs on a range of subjects including the anti-government protests that raged through parts of the region during the past year, gender rights, personal identity, employment, personal debt, foreign relations and media consumption.