UAE is Middle East’s most ‘change-ready’ country

UAE is Middle East’s most ‘change-ready’ country

Economic, governance and social capabilities under focus.

By Issac John - Associate Business Editor

Published: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:18 PM

Dubai — The UAE  is the most change-ready country in the Middle East, and ranks globally  No.5  in the KPMG 2015 Change Readiness Index (CRI) in terms of its enterprise capability, government capability and people and civil society capability. CRI is a key global index that ranks countries best equipped to respond to accelerating political, economic and social change. The UAE ranks behind Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Norway.

The index assesses countries’ change-readiness in three aspects: economic capabilities, governance capabilities, and social capabilities. 

Based on a recent study by KPMG International and Oxford Economics, the index ranked 127 countries for their capacity to prepare for and respond to accelerating change brought about by natural disasters, economic and political shocks, demographics and new technologies.

This comes following the recent announcement that 2014 was the UAE’s strongest economic year since its foundation by High Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“The CRI shows that there are no absolutes when it comes to change readiness,” said Timothy Stiles, Global Chair for International Development Assistance Services (IDAS), KPMG International.  “A country’s wealth is certainly a contributing factor, but many countries compensate for lesser wealth with robust governance, a strong social foundation, and a positive business environment.”

Vikas Papriwal, head of Markets, KPMG Lower Gulf, said the UAE’s non-oil sector has been growing rapidly, largely due to initiatives by the government to boost the private and government sector.

“The CRI measures business environment, government capability, including fiscal, regulatory and security aspects and people and civil society capability, including civil society institutions, education, health and technology access – something that the UAE has successfully achieved over the past decade. Further, the government’s role in encouraging entrepreneurship and SMEs has played a crucial role in encouraging long-term economic development,” said Papriwal. A recent Global Information Technology Report 2015 report shows that the UAE climbed one notch up on the ICT Readiness Index to grab the 23rd ranking in the globe, as opposed to its regional peers Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, who all slipped from their rankings. The CRI was expanded to 127 countries for 2015, from the 90 countries included in the study’s 2013 ranking.  In the 2015 Index, Singapore repeated its number one ranking from 2013, while Northern and Western European countries dominated the top 20 overall.

The only other Gulf country to figure in among the top ten countries globally in the index is Qatar, ranked seven. The UAE was followed by New Zealand in Change Readiness Index. Others among the top ten include Denmark (8th) Sweden (9th) and Finland (10th).  The US was ranked 20th in the index. A number of lower income countries perform well in the CRI, demonstrating the benefits of effective policy and investment in compensating for lower levels of wealth.

“The CRI is designed so that users can drill down in each of the pillars for an in-depth picture of a country’s performance for each capability, gaining an understanding of why some nations perform better than others, and what could be done to close the gap,” said Adrian Cooper, CEO of Oxford Economics.

“Change readiness is complex, and the CRI enables governments, NGOs and private investors to go beyond headlines, unravel this complexity and ultimately make more informed decisions.”

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