The UAE is the most prosperous Arab nation according to the latest Legatum Prosperity Index which saw Saudi Arabia improve its prosperity more than any country in the MENA region, rising 14 ranks in 10 years.
The prosperity index, in its 13th year, assessed how well 167 countries promote the economic and social well-being of their residents in three domains: inclusive societies, open economies and empowered people.
"The middle 90 countries of the Index, those that rank 40th to 130th and which contain 69 percent of the world's population, is where the massive opportunity for developing prosperity exists. Without neglecting those at the bottom, and drawing on the lessons of the top 40, we are focused on improving prosperity in this grouping of countries," said Philippa Stroud, chief executive of Legatum Institute.
The UAE came in 40th place this year, keeping its spot in the top 40 for the fifth year in a row. A decade ago, it was 44th. It scored particularly well in the open economies category, which includes the investment environment, enterprise conditions, market access and infrastructure, and economic quality. Within the open economies category, the UAE is third globally for the most flexible business regulations.
Saudi Arabia scored well in the open economies category, which includes enterprise conditions, markets access and infrastructure, economic quality and investment environment. However, the kingdom still ranks in the bottom 10 for personal freedom, the report said.
Denmark topped this year's prosperity index, ranking in the top 10 for every pillar and for having the best living conditions. Norway was ranked in the second position followed by Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Luxembourg and Iceland in the tenth position.
Globally, 148 out of 167 countries are experiencing higher levels of prosperity than a decade ago. The increase has been driven by more open economies due to improvement in the investment environment and digital connectivity. Health, education and living conditions have also improved, but weaker personal freedom and deteriorating governance are setbacks.
Of the 19 countries that experienced a deterioration in global prosperity over the past decade, 15 are in Sub-Saharan Africa or the Mena region, mainly due to geopolitical conflicts and civil unrest. Syria (157th), Yemen (166th) and Venezuela (143rd) have seen the greatest declines.