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UAE ranked top in prosperity index

posted on 05/11/2008: 1791 views



The UAE is ranked the most prosperous GCC country and the second most prosperous country in the Middle East by the Legatum Prosperity Index for 2008.

The country ranks 28th among the 104 countries surveyed in the Legatum index which goes beyond GDP in its assessment of national prosperity and defines prosperity as material wealth coupled with quality of life.

"The UAE is among the top Arab countries in the world, there is an especially high quality of life here," said Dr William Inboden, senior vice-president of the Legatum Institute.

The UAE ranks favourably in capital stock, in freedom of choice, high incomes, net migration and the availability of opportunity.

"The people of the UAE generally enjoy a high standard of living because of oil wealth. Incomes are high and unemployment is relatively low. However, migrant construction workers from Asia [whose conditions are not assessed by the index, which addresses the circumstances of UAE nationals] are reportedly exposed to poor labour conditions on building sites," the index said.

"Immigration, reflecting the extraordinary opportunities the UAE has created, has produced one of the most diverse populations in the Middle East. The UAE is also one of the most tolerant countries in the region."

Factors hampering prosperity in the country included the cost of starting a business, the country's dependence on imports, the lack of empowerment and opportunities for women, political rights and liberties and intensely hot summers.

"In common with most other Gulf states, women do not benefit from equal rights throughout much of society," it said.

"A high level of satisfaction with freedom of choice is perceived by respondents to the Gallup World Poll," the index said.

Inboden said the various countries in the Middle East were vastly different appearing in various tiers of the index, with Israel ranked in the top 20, Kuwait and the UAE in the top 30 and Yemen ranked 104th or as the least prosperous country.

"Kuwait does pretty well on education, it is ranked 4th in the world, Saudi Arabia ranks very well on social trust, 8th in the world... but at the same time it ranks 98th in political rights and last in terms of women's share of national income," said Inboden. – Gulf News

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