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When asked which country in the world they would like to live in, 46 per cent of all young Arabs named UAE as their country of choice Image Credit:

Dubai: For the ninth year in a row, UAE has emerged as a ‘model nation’ for young Arabs, who also see it as the country they would most like to live in, even more than the US and Canada, according to the 12th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey released today.

When asked which country in the world they would like to live in, nearly half (46 per cent) of all young Arabs named UAE as their country of choice, followed by the US (33 per cent), Canada (27 per cent), UK (27 per cent) and Germany (22 per cent).

In a series of tweets today regarding the survey, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said it was painful that almost half of Arab youth want to emigrate from their countries because they don’t find safety and livelihood in their own homeland.

On their perception that government corruption exists in their countries, Shaikh Mohammad said if a government is corrupt, the country will be ruined. Every official is responsible before God, he added.

Speaking about the UAE’s place as the most preferred country, Shaikh Mohammad said the UAE is a country for everyone. He added that the UAE has built a successful model and its doors will remain open to all.

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In a series of tweets today regarding the survey, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said it was painful that almost half of Arab youth want to emigrate because they don’t find safety and livelihood in their own homeland. But 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.

On their perception that government corruption exists in their countries, Shaikh Mohammad said if a government is corrupt, the country will be ruined. Every official is responsible before God, he added. In the UAE, 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”.

Speaking about the UAE’s place as the most preferred country, Shaikh Mohammad said the UAE is a country for everyone. He added that the UAE has built a successful model and its doors will remain open to all.

The survey is said to be the largest of its kind of the region’s biggest demographic - its youth. This year, the survey, covering 4,000 young Arabs aged 18 to 24, was conducted in two parts: The first ‘Main Survey’ before the coronavirus outbreak and the second ‘COVID-19 Pulse Survey’ following the crisis.

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Arab Youth Survey findings Image Credit: Seyyed Llata/Gulf News

Why UAE is a top choice

Among the 17 Arab countries covered in the main survey, the UAE also rises to the top with over half (52 per cent) of respondents saying their country should emulate the Emirates. The US ranks second with 30 per cent, followed by Germany (23 per cent), Canada (21 per cent) and Japan (20 per cent). Asked specifically what they associate most with the UAE, young Arabs cited factors including safety and security (44 per cent), wide range of work opportunities (36 per cent), generous salary packages (32 per cent), a growing economy (31 per cent) and a good place to raise a family (25 per cent) as the top five reasons.

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Arab Youth Survey findings Image Credit: Seyyed Llata/Gulf News

Underlining the strong reputation of the UAE across the Arab world, a vast majority (89 per cent) of Arab youth see it as an ally of their country, in addition to being regarded as one of the top three rising powers that have most increased their influence in the Arab world, alongside Saudi Arabia and the US.

The findings of the study, conducted for leading PR consultancy ASDA’A BCW by PSB, a global strategic research and analytics consultancy, reveals 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.

Historical year

Sunil John, President – Middle East of BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, said: “For years, the UAE has served as a beacon of hope in the region. The unique model of the nation, celebrating social, religious and cultural pluralism, continues to gain the admiration of young Arabs, who see the UAE as the top nation in the world, over Western and Eastern counterparts, to live in and emulate. This is a powerful statement on the positivity and progressive outlook of the UAE leadership and people.”

John added: “In a defining year that witnessed the UAE marking historic firsts, including the first interplanetary mission from the Arab world to Mars with the successful launch of the Hope Probe, and signing the Peace Accord with Israel, the national pride of young Emiratis is surging, as our survey findings show. This also reflects in other key findings of the survey in which Emirati youth express an almost diametrically opposed view to the majority – especially in relation to their confidence in their government’s ability, desire to emigrate, and their nationality defines their personal identity, rather than religion.”

With 65 per cent of the Arab population under the age of 30, the survey presents “evidence-based” insights into the attitudes of the over 200 million Arab youth, providing public and private sector organisations with data and analysis to inform their decision-making and policy creation.