DUBAI – Dubai ranked 16 out of 65 economies surveyed worldwide and first in the Middle East in an evaluation on economic competitiveness conducted by the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies at the National University of Seoul, South Korea.
Dubai was included in the 2009 survey for the first time, even though the Institute has issued an annual competitiveness report since 2001. The UAE placed first at the regional level and ranked ahead of Japan, Germany, France and New Zealand at the international level
The U.S. topped the rankings, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark. Elsewhere in the region Saudi Arabia, the Arab Gulf's largest economy, ranked 48th, Oman 42nd, and Kuwait 30th.
The report comes amidst debates among financial analysts regarding the strength of the UAE economy faced with the rising challenges posed by the global economic crisis. Government representatives say the state is fully capable of controlling the situation, while analysts claim that the Emirates' economy has suffered a direct blow, especially in the building and real estate sectors.
The report noted Dubai's progress in the fields of health and environment, while also praising its role in property and intellectual property rights, corporate governance, government business strategy and attracting foreign investment. The report also cited areas in need of improvement including commercial ethics and transparency and workforce education and capacity.
Adel Al-Falasi, executive director of the Dubai Competitiveness Council said, "This is one of the first steps in our efforts to identify Dubai's position in global markets." Analysts have praised the government for its efforts to develop a strong and mature economic system.
[Arabian Business newspaper, Khaleej Times newspaper]