UAE tops MasterCard’s regional growth index - Gulf Business
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UAE tops MasterCard’s regional growth index

UAE tops MasterCard’s regional growth index

The report attributed the UAE’s top ranking to its perseverance in diversifying its economy away from oil and gas

The UAE has been ranked first in the Middle East and Africa in a new regional growth report released by MasterCard.

With a score of 57.58, the UAE topped the rankings on the Inclusive Growth report, followed by Qatar (55.2) and Bahrain (54.5).

Saudi Arabia, with a score of 51.4 and Oman (50.9) rounded off the top five among the 12 countries ranked.

The ranking is an indicator of the pace and pattern of regional economic growth and seeks to benchmark MEA developing nations against the developed countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The overall global OECD average score is 64.38.

The report attributed the UAE’s top ranking to its regional leadership position and its perseverance in diversifying its economy away from oil and gas.

It also credited the country for enhancing its education, healthcare and tourism sectors, which has resulted in the creation of more job opportunities and increased sustainability.

Vice chair of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government (World Economic Forum) and co-author of the report Yasar Jarrar also lauded the UAE for its focus on national competitiveness and its encouragement of entrepreneurship.

Jarrar referenced the recently announced UAE Innovation strategy, designed to boost interest and job creation in seven critical sectors – renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.

Overall, the report stressed that inclusive growth is critical for the Middle East and Africa because of the region’s demographic dynamics, social structures, current economic conditions, and the ongoing political instability, which are all interlinked.

It highlighted the extremes in the region – on one end are the GCC countries who are moving ahead with infrastructure mega-developments, fuelled by oil revenues.

On the other end of the spectrum are states that are either failing and or in a state of civil war like Syria,Yemen, and Iraq.

The remaining countries can be best described as being in a ‘transitional state’ in terms of economic, social, and political development, the report said.

However, despite these disparities, one thing that does hold this region together as a unit is its shared future – what happens in one country invariably affects most of the others, it added.

“It could be argued that inclusive growth is the solution for economic development concerns in the MEA region,” said Jarrar.

“When income distribution and opportunities are equalised, countries will be able to boost local consumption, power growth, and reduce poverty and unemployment, while also seeing a rise in social and economic mobility, leading to an expanding, dynamic and increasingly prosperous middle class.”

Inclusive growth table

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