United Arab Emirates continues as most prosperous Arab nation
The third edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, published today, ranks 104 countries (covering 90% of the world's population), based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth together with measures of happiness and quality of life. At 47th, the UAE is the only Arab nation ranked in the top 50 for the second year running, thanks to strong scores in security and safety, and health. In contrast, several other Middle East and North African nations are clustered in the bottom quarter, such as Saudi Arabia (81st), Egypt, (88th), Iran (94th), Algeria (96th), and Yemen (102nd).
"The Legatum Prosperity Index is the world's only global assessment of wealth and wellbeing," said Dr. William Inboden, Senior Vice President of the Legatum Institute. "While several countries in the region are taking positive steps towards reform, the Prosperity Index demonstrates that the region still faces considerable challenges in developing its economic potential as well as improving the quality of life of its citizens," he continued. "There are some bright spots, such as relatively high ranks on Safety and Security for the UAE (18th) and Kuwait (24th). But to catch up to the rest of the world, most countries across the region should focus upon access to freedoms, economic factors, good governance, and the general well-being of their citizens, " concluded Dr. Inboden.
Key Findings from the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index:
- Finland tops the Index, followed by Switzerland, Sweden, and Denmark; the United States is 9th and the United Kingdom is 12th.
- The UAE scores in the top global tier on Health (29th) and Safety and Security (18th), but in the lowest tier on Democratic Institutions (98th) and Social Capital (77th).
- Iran performs poorly across the board, and is near the global bottom in Governance (102nd) and Personal Freedom (101st).
- Egypt also lags far behind global averages, ranking near the bottom in Personal Freedom (95th) and Social Capital (100th).
- Jordan (80th overall) and Tunisia (68th overall) are in the middle tiers in Education, Health, Safety and Security, and Governance, indicating areas with potential for continued improvement.
- Despite its massive petroleum wealth, Saudi Arabia's overall rank (81st) suffers from very poor performances in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (81st), Democratic Institutions (101st), and Personal Freedom (98th).
- Yemen at 102nd overall continues to face major challenges, ranking in the bottom global tier in every category.
The Prosperity Index identifies nine key factors that drive economic growth and personal wellbeing, which are the foundations of prosperity. Each of these nine factors is represented in a sub-index and a country's final Prosperity Index ranking is generated by averaging its scores across all nine sub-indexes, equally weighted.