Saudi Arabia had the biggest climb in the world rankings, up 13 places to 26th
The UAE has ranked first in the region in the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings and entered the first five globally for the first time, it was announced on Tuesday.
According to the rankings, the UAE – which as recently as 2016 was ranked 15th – is now ranked first globally for business efficiency and outshines other parts of the world with regards to productivity, digital transformation and entrepreneurship.
Globally, Singapore was ranked as the world’s most competitive economy for the first time since 2010, while the United States slipped from the top spot after being badly hit by higher fuel prices, weaker hi-tech experts and fluctuations in the value of the dollar. European rankings were also found to have been negatively impacted by ongoing economic uncertainty.
In the Middle East, the UAE and Saudi Arabia both climbed in the rankings, with the kingdom achieving the biggest climb in the world rankings – up 13 places to 26th – despite a drop in its overall economic performance score.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia had the highest global ranking for investment in education and also performed well in public and business finance.
In second place globally was Hong Kong, which was bolstered by benign tax and business policy environment and easy access to business finance.
“In a year of high uncertainty in global markets due to rapid changes in the international political landscape as well as trade relations, the quality of institutions seem to be the unifying element for increasing prosperity,” said Arturo Bris, IMD professor and director of the IMD World Competiveness Center, which compiles the rankings.
“A strong institutional framework provides the stability for business to invest and innovate, ensuring a higher quality of life for citizens,” Bris added.
The rankings take into account 235 indicators from 63 ranked economies, with factors ranging from unemployment, GDP, and government spending on health and education to social cohesion and corruption.