The United Arab Emirates has been identified by young Arabs as the number one country to live in, according to the 11th annual Arab Youth Survey.
The survey, produced by Asda’a BCW, is based on 3,300 face-to-face interviews conducted by international research firm PBS with Arab nationals ages 18-24 in 15 states across the Middle East and North Africa.
The research found that 44 per cent of those interviewed say the UAE is the country they would want to live in, followed by Canada (22 per cent), the US (21 per cent), Turkey (17 per cent) and the UK (15 per cent). This is the eighth year that the UAE has emerged as the leader in this category.
Young Arabs also see the UAE as a model nation, according to the survey, with 42 per cent stating they would like their country to emulate it. The US and Japan were tied in second place with 20 per cent each, followed by Turkey (19 per cent) and Canada (18 per cent).
The UAE is also viewed as a strong ally of other MENA countries, with 93 per cent saying it is an ally of their country. Egypt came second with 84 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia with 80 per cent, Turkey with 68 per cent, Russia with 64 per cent, and the US with 41 per cent.
“The UAE’s growing reputation among Arab youth as the best country to live in and for their nations to emulate highlights the forward-looking development strategy and future-focused vision of the UAE leadership,” said Sunil John, president of ASDA’A BCW.
“In the past eight years of the survey, the positive perception of the Emirates has only gained in strength year-on-year, underlining the UAE as a true beacon of hope and a model nation for young people across the region.
“From investments in world-class infrastructure to the focus of the leadership to build smart, sustainable cities and leverage the advantages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the UAE’s predominant narrative appeals to young people for the job opportunities and the quality of life the nation assures.”
According to the report, 38 per cent of young Arabs are drawn to the UAE by its wide range of work opportunities, while 36 per cent cited its secure environment, and 30 per cent pointed to its generous salary packages.
Elsewhere in the survey, 66 per cent of people believe religion plays too big a role in the Middle East, with 79 per cent agreeing that the Arab world needs to reform its religious institutions.
More than half of respondents (56 per cent) believe the rising cost of living is among the biggest obstacles facing the Middle East, with 45 per cent highlighting the role of unemployment. Some 65 per cent said their countries are not doing enough to help young families.
Almost four fifths (78 per cent) said they are concerned about the quality of education they receive in their country, with only 32 per cent saying they would prefer to pursue higher education in their own country. Most – 53 per cent – want to attend college or university in a Western country.
The survey also showed a boom in e-commerce spending among young people. Some 71 per cent said they shop online either ‘frequently’ or ‘less frequently’, compared to 53 per cent in 2018. Clothing, food and electronics emerged as the three main drivers of e-commerce.
The Arab Youth Survey launched in 2008, in a bid to understand the attitudes and aspirations of the region’s largest age demographic; 65 per cent of the Arab population being under 30 years old.
The 3,300 interviews for the 2019 edition were split evenly between men and women and took place across Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE), Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen.