The UAE remains the most competitive economy in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region in 2022, according to the IMD World Competitiveness 2022 Report released on Wednesday.

The Emirates was ranked 12th globally in the latest report, down three positions, but still more competitive than the world’s major economies such as Canada, Germany, China, Australia, Austria, UK, South Korea, France, New Zealand, Japan and others.

In the region, Qatar came second with 18th position, followed by Saudi Arabia (24th), Israel (25th) and Bahrain (30th).

The UAE was ranked 1st globally in a number of sub-indices, including basic infrastructure, adaptability of government policy, immigration laws, income distribution, tax evasion, collected personal income tax, redundancy cost, management of cities, population growth, dependency ratio of family members on each other, energy infrastructure, the highest internet users and student mobility inbound.

The study, which is produced annually, covered 63 countries and looked at four key indicators – economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure, with each having many sub-indices.

The UAE saw a major improvement in various sub-indices including gross fixed capital formation real growth, renewable energies, real GDP growth, government budget surplus due to high oil prices, improvement in the current account balance, increase in stock market capitalization, improvement in labor force especially low unemployment rate and exports.

Denmark reached the top spot for the first time in the ranking’s 34-year history, having come 3rd in 2021. It performed outstandingly in the business efficiency factor and in the productivity and efficiency and management practices sub-factors. Switzerland moved down to second, and Singapore rebounded to third from fifth.

The other countries that made it to the top 10 are Sweden, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Taiwan (China), Finland, Norway and USA.

“Denmark is the most digitally advanced country in the world and now takes the top spot thanks to good policies, advantages afforded by being a European country, a clear focus on sustainability and a push from its agile corporate sector,” explained professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre (WCC).

Canada was rated 14th (unchanged), China at 17th (down one position), the UK at 23rd (down five positions) and India at 37th ranking (up six positions).

The study reflected that inflationary pressures are having a greater impact on businesses – and therefore on the competitiveness of national economies than concerns about greenhouse emissions and socio-economic disparities.

“Inflationary pressure is shown to be affecting most of the economies studied,” said Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist at the WCC.

“Other global challenges having an impact on the competitiveness of countries include variants of Covid-19 appearing under different intensity with respect to the number of infected people around the world; differing national policies to address Covid (the ‘zero-tolerance Covid’ policy versus the ‘moving on from Covid’ policy); and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” he explained.

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