UAE among top ten most competitive economies, reveals report

May 26, 2014 2:55 pm

By Sidra Tariq

The UAE is among the top ten most competitive countries, according to a global ranking of 60 economies released today (Thursday, May 22) by IMD, an international business school based in Switzerland.

The UAE ranks number eight in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014, which will be officially published at the end of June, retaining the same position as in last year’s ranking. The yearbook is based on statistical indicators and a survey, which was conducted between January and April among 4,300 executives spanning 60 economics. It measures how well countries manage all of their resources and competencies to increase their prosperity.

The US tops the ranking again this year, which reflects the resilience of its economy, better employment numbers and its dominance in technology and infrastructure, according to the report. The other top ten countries are Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, Germany, Canada, the UAE, Denmark and Norway, respectively.

“The UAE shows stability and dynamism, as well as a business-friendly environment,” Anne-France Borgeaud, senior economist at the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, tells’s sister publication,, in an email interview.

The report also ranks countries across a number of sub-factors, such as government efficiency, economic performance, business efficiency and infrastructure. The UAE retains its number one position in terms of government efficiency and has a “very strong leadership. The government policy is conducive to competitiveness in the country,” adds Borgeaud.

While the country has moved up the global ranking in economic performance due to “very strong macroeconomic fundamentals”, it has dropped with regards to business efficiency (from number nine to 15) and infrastructure (from number 34 to 38): “Slight falls can be noted at the levels of basic infrastructure (water transportation, etc.), technological infrastructure (investment in telecoms, etc.), health and environment (quality of life, etc.) and education (secondary school enrolment, higher education achievement, etc).”

The country also ranks number four – after Singapore, Germany and Ireland – in terms of branding and its image abroad, falling from number one position in 2013.

Meanwhile, from a list of indicators provided to them, survey respondents in the UAE outlined dynamism of the economy, business-friendly environment, government competency, reliable infrastructure and competitive tax regime among the most attractive factors of the economy.

The report also lists some of the biggest improvements and declines in the overall performance of the economy in comparison with 2013. For the UAE, it outlines improvements in areas such as government budget surplus/deficit, current account balance, number of patents in force and foreign currency reserves. A slight decline has been noted in exchange rate stability, consumer price inflation and real GDP growth per capita, among others.

“The overall competitiveness story for 2014 is one of continued success in the US, partial recovery in Europe and struggles for some large emerging markets. There is no single recipe for a country to climb the competitiveness rankings and much depends on the local context,” says Professor Arturo Bris, director at the IMD World Competitiveness Centre.