The UAE secured its position as the most prosperous Arab nation for the 14th year in a row placing the nation 42nd out of 167 countries, according to the latest Legatum Prosperity Index.
The Emirates was highly recognized for its open economy, enterprise conditions, market access and infrastructure in the global leader board in which Europe took nine of the ten positions with Denmark in the lead.
The index, now in its 14th year, assesses the countries based on improving the economic and social well-being of their residents in three domains inclusive societies, open economies and empowered people.
“The UAE has seen an improvement in four rankings over the past decade, which means it has improved its prosperity, but relative to other countries. It has improved faster and that is particularly being driven by improvements in the open economies domain,” Shaun Flanagan, director for metrics at the Legatum Institute said.
The 2020 index which is completely based on data collected before the pandemic points that global prosperity was at a record high before the crisis. Out of the 167 countries, 147 have witnessed an increase in prosperity levels over the past 10 years, especially due to enhanced health, education, living conditions and more open economies.
But in the past 12 months, these improvements slowed down, as the pandemic has created the progress into a standstill in the Asia-Pacific region. Progress in Western Europe and North America has also been stagnated.
According to the data, 86 percent of the global population living in these countries has experienced progress in prosperity in 2017 and 2018, but in 2019 and 2020 it slowed down to 61 percent.
Data collected from sources like the World Economic Forum and the World Bank indicate a drop in business confidence, especially in the UK and North America, says Mr. Flanagan.
The index further raised concerns over the UK’s capacity to protect and build its prosperity, with personal and family relationships deteriorating over the past 10 years.
In addition, public confidence over national government has been decreasing and is now among the lowest levels seen across the world, “reflecting a significant decline in government effectiveness since 2017”, the index pointed.
Philippa Stroud, chief executive of the Legatum Institute, stated that while the index indicates global prosperity at its highest ever level, there were also some warning signs for the West.
“The Western world must beware of the trap of falling into a mindset of an overdeveloped society, vulnerable to entitlement and complacency. This is a dark moment of global emergency, but we must not focus solely on the immediate crisis or we will limit future prosperity. Never has it been more important for leaders to recognize the holistic nature of prosperity and make strategic choices to further build inclusive societies and more open economies.”
When taking a closer look at the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) a sustained instability across the region is visible which means that since 2010 prosperity improvement has been slow and underperformed against the global average.
The expansion in telecommunications infrastructure in the region is considered as an improvement, with the average broadband subscriptions per capita, almost increased four-fold in the last decade.
The consistent improvement in education is a positive sign, with only Jordan and Syria deteriorating. “For most countries, this has been due to an improvement in tertiary education, with enrolment rates across the region increasing from 32 percent to 44 percent since 2010,” the index said.
Commenting on the future Mr. Flanagan stated that the effects of COVID-19 will disturb many aspects of the index next year, especially the open economies due to travel restrictions, and living conditions as people lose their jobs.
“The ability to access income is going to be affected, along with health and education, and we’ll see the effects of that coming through next year,” Mr. Flanagan added.