UAE is the top country to live in: Arab Youth Survey

UAE is the top country to live in: Arab Youth Survey

Dubai - Young Emiratis also expressed strong support for the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT).



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Tue 8 May 2018, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 9 May 2018, 9:06 AM

For the seventh consecutive year, young Arabs across the region voted the UAE as the top country to live in, according to the findings of the 10th Arab Youth Survey
The ASDA'A Burson- Marsteller 10th Arab Youth Survey 2018, released on Tuesday, says the young Emiratis are optimistic about their future and young Arabs across the region view the UAE as the top ally of their respective countries.
More than one-in-three, 37 per cent, of 3,500 respondents across the 16 Arab countries, said the UAE is a model country for their own, once again far surpassing the US, Canada, Japan and others.

Sunil John, founder of ASDA'A Burson- Marsteller and Curtis Freet, the CEO of PBS research, released findings from the survey. John said: "Young Emiratis agree with the positive perceptions of the UAE across the region, with 99 per cent of the UAE's youth saying their country is heading in the right direction and more than four-in-five (85 per cent) saying their best days are ahead of them."

Youth to play significant role in Expo 2020

Discussing survey results in a panel discussion during the launch, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of Expo 2020 Bureau, said: "The vision of the UAE in integrating and engaging the youth in all the political processes is part and parcel of a government strategy. About 30 per cent of the employees of the Expo 2020 is under the age of 30."
Hashimy said the Expo is heavily promoted in universities and schools. "We were engaging the youth and two years ago; we also decided to work in cooperation with SMEs. It is important for entrepreneurs to believe they are playing a vital role. Youth volunteering will also be a big part of the Expo 202 promotion."
Young Emiratis also expressed strong support for the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT). Nearly three-in-four (71 per cent) young Emiratis said they support the five per cent VAT, introduced by the UAE government this January. Only 27 per cent opposed the new tax.

Bleak outlook for youth in Levant

Another key finding in the survey states youth in the past decade - shaped by the Arab Spring and Daesh - has left the Middle East drifting off course. "Youth in the Levant has a slightly bleaker outlook towards the future as compared to their GCC counterparts," said Freet. Eighty-nine per cent of youth in Lebanon, 88 per cent in Jordan, and 89 per cent in Palestinian territories feel the region has moved in the wrong direction.
Arab youth say Daesh and the Arab Spring have had the most significant impact on the region over the past decade; both are seen to have impacted the region negatively. To steer the region in the right direction, action is needed on jobs, education, corruption and the fight against terror, according to survey results.
While announcing survey results, Curtis said: "Arab youths are not at all confused about what they want for the future. They have straightforward requirements, and their top priorities are defeating terrorist organisation, creating new well-paying jobs, modernising the education system, and cracking down on government corruption."

Research methodology

Revealing details of the research methodology, John said: "The survey conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews from January 21 to February 20. The interviews were conducted in English and Arabic."
"The Arab Youth survey is a special passion project which has consistently grown over the last 10 years. When we take a look back, the region has gone through some severe ups and downs in the last 10 years."
A total of 300 respondents were interviewed in UAE, where 40 per cent where from Dubai, another 40 per cent from Abu Dhabi and 20 per cent from Sharjah.

US an adversary while Russia ally

The perception of global power in the region has shifted markedly, with a majority of Arab youth across the region now viewing the US as an adversary and Russia, instead, seen as the top non-Arab ally.
When asked to name their country's top allies, young Arabs cited the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, followed by Russia in fourth place and Egypt in fifth. The US has dropped out of the top five for first time in the survey's history, falling to 11th place. Having said that, Curtis Freet, the CEO of PBS research explained the change in perception is more political in nature.
According to the 10th annual ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2018, Arab youth now support the reforms Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is spearheading and view him as a strong leader who will shape the region over the next decade. The youth overwhelmingly welcome the move to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia but say more must be done to address women's rights through the region.
"The majority of young Arabs (57 per cent) say they believe the region has moved in the right direction over the past decade - a period stamped by the Arab Spring and the rise of Daesh," said Freet.
A whopping 88 per cent of young Arabs support Saudi Arabia's decision to allow women to drive and 86 per cent (94 per cent among young Saudis) support his anti-corruption drive, which saw dozens of leading businesspeople and senior royals detained over graft allegations, said the survey.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Turki bin Abdullah Aldakhil, general manager of Al Arabiya News channel, said: "I can understand why Arab youth would now consider Russia as an ally. Several factors led to this thinking. Donald Trump's election announcing the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem and a growing nationalist, leftist ideology, independent of Western influence."

Leaders of impact

Arab youth, particularly in the GCC, expect Saudi Crown Prince to have a more significant impact on the region over the next decade than any other Arab leader. The youth predict five global leaders will have an effect in the Arab world include Donald Trump (25 per cent), Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (15 per cent), Abdel Fattah El Sisi (nine per cent), His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (six per cent), and Vladimir Putin (six per cent).
"Top three leaders in the GCC are Mohammed bin Salman, Donald Trump and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan," said John. Young Saudis are highly confident that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi vision 2030 will be a success. A total of 92 per cent of the respondents in Saudi feel the vision will be a success.

Technology top sector for entrepreneurs

Young Arabs view the digital revolution as a significant development that has shaped the region over the past decade. 'The digital revolution' is the third most significant development that has impacted the region, nestled between the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring.
Sunil John, the Founder of ASDA'A Burson- Marsteller, said: "A total of 60 per cent of the respondents believe that the revolution has had a positive impact in the Arab world, while 17 per cent think it is negative. About 23 per cent think it is neither."
Furthermore, technology is seen as the top sector among potential young Arab entrepreneurs, particularly those who say the digital revolution has had the largest impact over the past decade. "Twenty-eight per cent of the respondents would set up a new business in the technology sector," revealed Curtis Freet, CEO of PBS research.
More than half the Arabs shop online. "A total of 53 per cent of the respondents shop online, of which 26 per cent shop online frequently. However, 72 per cent of the GCC respondents shop online and 32 per cent in North Africa, and 50 per cent in the Levant," added John. Online banking is another technology advance that more than half of young Arabs use.

Social media for news consumption

For the first time more, young Arabs say they get their news on social media than TV, marking a significant shift since 2015. "Social media is the number one source of news," said John. He added: "In 2015, 25 per cent of news consumption happened over social media. Today, that number has risen to 63 per cent."
Young people spend five and a half hours a day looking at social media. "Moreover, the youth view CNN as the most trusted source of news (75 per cent), and Al Jazeera came in as the least trusted source of news (43 per cent)."
Speaking about changing means of news consumption and trust in leadership, especially in the GCC, Turki bin Abdullah Aldakhil, the general manager of Al Arabiya News channel, said: "When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took over, he did not represent himself as a political leader. He broke the stereotype as a rigid political leader and realised the importance of opening new doors and not relying on oil."

Top 10 findings

1-Youth say the past decade shaped by the Arab Spring and Daesh has left the Middle East drifting off course
2-To steer the region in the right direction, action is needed on jobs, education, corruption and fight against terror
3-Young Arabs see Saudi Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman as a strong leader who will shape the next decade
4-Arab youth overwhelmingly welcome the move to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, but say more must be done to address women's rights throughout the region
5-Young Arabs are convinced Daesh - and its ideology - will be completely defeated
6-Youth across the Middle East increasingly view the US as an adversary, while Russia cements its position as a top non-Arab ally
7-The UAE remains the top country Arab youth want to live in, and want their own countries to emulate
8-Youth in the Levant have an increasingly bleak outlook compared with peers in North Africa and Gulf states
9-While young Arabs increasingly take to social media for news, they see CNN as the most trusted and Al Jazeera as least trusted.
10-Inspired by the Digital Revolution, future Arab entrepreneurs turn to the tech sector, which offers plentiful opportunities in the region
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com
 


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