Dubai's march towards its economic diversification drive is paying rich dividends as the emirate competitiveness ranking improves, reducing gap with the world's top competitive economies, according to a new study released on Saturday.
According to the Dubai Competitiveness Report 2018 issued by the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Centre in co-operation with the Dubai Competitiveness Office of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, the emirate ranks first in the Arab world and fourth worldwide in 'economic performance' pillar, beating Canada, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong and all EU countries excluding Luxembourg.
Dubai ranks first globally in both gross domestic savings as percentage of GDP, employment growth, and second in exports of goods as percentage of GDP, low jobless rate and youth unemployment.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said Dubai's achievements in global competitiveness, especially in the 'economic performance' pillar have been driven by the fruitful development strategy it has adopted over the last few decades, and a genuine public-private sector partnership.
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Sheikh Hamdan said: "Dubai is an icon among the fastest growing economies in the region, and the world. Today, Dubai represents a unique experience of ambitious people and a pioneering government."
He said Dubai is doing its best to expedite its economic growth.
Surandar Jesrani, partner and CEO at Morison MJS, said focus and speed make Dubai strong and competitive. And increasing expediting the focus and efficiency can help the emirate to surpass current top-ranking economies in terms of competitiveness.
"In today's world, we need unique businesses and I think one thing which could be done is allowing new born entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice without going through full-fledged setup and without incurring huge setup cost. There could be prototype run of business for one year or so before it goes into all the type of formalities to register the business and incur huge costs. This can be allowed under due controls and approvals," advised Jesrani in order to make the emirate more competitive and improve its growth rate and generate new jobs.
He noted that sharing of risk and rewards between entrepreneurs and stakeholders could be another major factor that could expedite the economic growth and create more jobs.
The International Monetary Fund earlier this month stated that the UAE's 2 per cent economic growth in 2018 will be powered by the 3.7 per cent growth of Dubai.
Atik Munshi, senior partner at Crowe Horwath, said Dubai is a global embodiment of how a socio-economic city should work.
"The greatest advantage of Dubai, which has increased its competitive edge, is the multicultural environment, which offers full security and ease of doing business. Over the years, the cost of doing business has increased due to high rents and overheads. Dubai can really reach very high if costs for running businesses are kept in bounds," Munshi said. According to Dubai Competitiveness Report 2018, Dubai leads the Arab world in direct inward investment flows and tourism receipts among others. The report showed that Dubai ranked first among Arab countries and ninth globally in inward investment with 6.42 per cent of GDP and with a stock of $73.8 billion, ahead of the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and China.
The emirate also ranked second in the Arab world and 12th globally in 'foreign direct investment abroad' with 4.51 per cent of GDP and a total stock of $28.8 billion. It also ranks the emirate first globally in 'employment growth' rate and 20th in 'employment in the public sector'.
Dubai is also ranked second in the 'low unemployment' rate globally, especially among the youth.
Importantly, diversification contributed to 72.2 per cent of the total economic growth achieved in 2017. Thus, Dubai is ranked eighth in the world for 'diversification of the economy', ahead of developed economies like Switzerland, Japan, France and the UK.
The first of its kind in the region, the IMD report compares Dubai with 63 economies across the world based on 346 competitiveness indicators of the World Competitiveness Yearbook. It contains a scientific analysis of the competitiveness indicators in different sectors and their implications on policy development.
By Waheed Abbas
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