Washington: The UAE is ranked on top regionally and the eighth internationally in the Index of Economic Freedom 2017, according to a leading Washington-based think-tank.
Based on the Heritage Foundation data, the UAE jumped from the 25th position globally and the second regionally in 2016 — to the 8th globally and first regionally in 2017, going past the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, and the United States — which occupied the 12th, 14th and 17th positions, respectively.
The UAE also topped two of the leading Scandinavian economies: Denmark and Sweden.
Hong Kong topped the foundation's 2017 list, while Singapore and New Zealand took the second and third spots. Others in the top 10 are: Switzerland (4th), Australia (5th), Estonia (6th), Canada (7th), UAE (8th), Ireland (9th) and Chile (10th).
The UK is placed in the 12th position, while the US took the 17th rank.
Among the GCC countries, Qatar was at 29th ranking on the list; Bahrain 44th; Kuwait 61st; Saudi Arabia 64th and Oman 82nd.
The Index analyses economic policy developments in 186 countries. Countries are graded and ranked on 12 measures of economic freedom that evaluate the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and the openness of markets.
Per capita incomes are much higher in countries that are more economically. Economies rated “free” or “mostly free” in the foundation’s 2017 Index generate incomes that are more than double the average levels in other countries — and more than five times higher than the incomes of people living in countries with “repressed” economies.
Not only are higher levels of economic freedom associated with higher per capita incomes, but greater economic freedom is also strongly correlated to overall well-being, taking into account such factors as health, education, environment, innovation, societal progress, and democratic governance.
Countries can get an immediate boost in their economic growth by implementing steps to increase economic freedom through forward-looking policies that encourage efficiency, innovation, and curb corruption.