The UAE has been ranked first in the Arab World in the post-COVID economic recovery index published by the Horizon Research Group. The index assesses the capabilities and competitive advantages possessed by various countries that helped them effectively deal with the crisis and drive recovery.
The index aims to contribute to the development of effective policies to navigate the associated challenges and to further support the efforts that have been undertaken to achieve a complete recovery in all sectors.
According to the findings of the report, which covers 122 countries, the UAE is at the forefront of Arab countries, supported by many factors and areas of strength including a strong institutional framework and advanced digital capabilities across various sectors, in addition to the high educational level of the population. The strong performance of the country’s various institutions in dealing with the pandemic since its onset until now is evident in the UAE’s success in navigating the crisis.
As a result, the country ranked 15 in terms of labour market strength, fifth globally in the area of public health, 17th in terms of debt level, 19th in terms of governance and social capital and 21st in terms of digital economy strength.
According to the report, the UAE’s advanced digital capabilities at the societal and economic levels played a decisive role in mitigating the negative impact on many sectors.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, "The UAE’s fifth position globally in the area of public health underlines the success of the relentless efforts made by the UAE government to confront the pandemic, bearing in mind that the health of the country’s people is the most important priority. This approach falls in line with the wise leadership’s vision that people form the foundation of development and therefore, their health should be of utmost importance in order to enable them to play their roles in the development of the society and its sustainability."
He said, "The UAE has managed to achieve an outstanding response to the COVID-19 situation by organising the sterilisation campaign at the national level, launching online health safety services, intensifying awareness campaigns and social distancing measures, in addition to strengthening the psychological wellbeing of the society. The country also leads globally in terms of the number of tests conducted for COVID-19, which has now crossed 10 million, exceeding the total number of the population in the country.
During this period, the focus has also been on direct, periodic communication with the public through media briefings to inform them of the latest developments, with an aim to enhance transparency and social responsibility."
In turn, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, affirmed that the UAE’s economy will be the fastest to recover from the pandemic’s impact thanks to the integrated strategy adopted by the country to deal with these unprecedented circumstances. As part of this, huge economic incentives and financial support packages have been rolled out to support entrepreneurs and SMEs, in addition to financial and monetary support packages designed to accelerate the pace of recovery in various sectors and activities in a way that guarantees assistance to all aspects of the economy.
Bin Touq attributed the UAE economy’s strength to a large number of factors that contribute in their entirety to the recovery process across various indicators, including economic diversity, the strength of the country’s sovereign assets and its robust financial reserves. He added that the effective measures implemented by the UAE to contain the pandemic with the help of modern technology, contributed to the gradual yet speedy re-opening of the economy, which added to the UAE’s chances of achieving a full recovery in record time.
The Minister of Economy further emphasized that the coming stage will bring along additional opportunities that businessmen and investors can benefit from, which is reflected in the positive indicators that monitor the pace of the UAE’s economic recovery. He explained that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic worldwide, the credit, financial and monetary situation in the UAE is strong and stable, thanks to the huge financial assets and infrastructural and logistical capabilities and UAE's diverse economic relations with various countries of the world.
Bin Touq added that the upcoming world Expo in the UAE will create more opportunities that in turn will support recovery efforts locally and globally. He added that the UAE’s attractiveness as a leading investment destination continues to grow, thanks to the vision of the wise leadership and its firm resolve to support the economic sector in every possible way to return to pre-pandemic levels of prosperity as soon as possible. This further strengthens the UAE’s position on the recovery index.
The UAE has long invested in the development of digital infrastructure across various sectors with an aim to harness the potential of modern technology in the management of the country's economy and its services.
The digital transformation of various sectors, mainly that of the economy and its services, experiences and material and non-material assets accumulated have strengthened the UAE’s ability to deal with difficult situations and challenges. Even sectors such as digital economy, artificial intelligence and advanced science have become important catalysts for economic recovery, in addition to serving as pillars for the future industry and a benchmark for development, economic growth and upgrade of services.
The UAE’s labour market is characterised by special features, as it had more than 7 million employees and workers as of 2019, with an unemployment rate of just 2.2 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, which is significantly low according to international standards.
Active individuals who belong to the working age group of ‘15 years and above’ make up 82 percent of the total population in the country, which means that the labour market is very young. Besides, advanced legislative and legal frameworks have contributed to enhancing the country's attractiveness before global talents, making the UAE home to highly qualified professionals in various fields.
The post-COVID economic recovery index was published by the Horizon Research Group, an expert body affiliated with the United Nations and the World Economic Forum and headquartered in Switzerland.
The Horizon Group is a research institution that aims to support transition towards a sustainable, inclusive and technology-based future economy through a set of indicators, foremost of which is innovation, inclusiveness and economic resilience, enhancing youth capabilities, and raising the future readiness of sectors.