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 UAE Leads in MECA in Global Opportunities Index 2024

Image courtesy: US State Department

UAE Leads in MECA in Global Opportunities Index 2024

The UAE has been leading the 25 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia (MECA) in the five categories – Business Perception, Economic Fundamentals, Financial Services, Institutional Framework and International Standards and Policy – according to Milken Institute’s Global Opportunity Index 2024.

The Milken Institute designed the GOI to assist investors seeking opportunities outside their local markets, as well as countries intending to improve their business environments. The index is based on 100 indicators classified into the above said five categories.

By capturing key investment conditions in a country, the GOI and accompanying data tool serve as an objective benchmark, offering vital information to investors and policymakers, Milken Institute said.

MECA’s highest-ranked country, the UAE, shows relatively strong performance across all categories as its particularly high rankings (among the top 25 countries) in the Institutional Framework and International Standards and Policy categories of the GOI set it apart from its regional neighbours, the Index noted.

Among the top 10 MECA countries, the UAE is ranked 34th globally in all these categories followed by Georgia (41), Azerbaijan (48), Bahrain (49), Qatar (52), Armenia (53), Saudi Arabia (56), Kazakhstan (57), Oman (61) and Kuwait (66) respectively.

“Aside from Economic Fundamentals, these 10 MECA countries tend to perform relatively well, with nine of the 10 scoring above the emerging and developing (E&D) economies overall average on at least four of the five categories of the GOI,” Milken Institute said.

Along with UAE, Azerbaijan stands out in the MECA region, ranking 13th overall in Business Perception. Unlike the UAE, however, Azerbaijan exhibits unbalanced performance across the five GOI categories, with its Financial Services and International Standards and Policy scores falling below the E&D overall average.

Denmark Leads

Denmark leads this year’s rankings, with Sweden moving down to the second position, and Finland, the US, and the UK completing the top five GOI countries. The largest discrepancies among these five countries are in their Financial Services scores. The US and the UK are the leaders in this GOI category, while Finland lags its peers at the 26th position.

Among regions with E&D economies, E&D Europe stands out with the highest average GOI score and the lowest spread between its top- and bottom-ranked countries. The low range in rankings of countries in E&D Europe signals cohesive investment conditions across the region.

In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has both the lowest average score and the widest range of all E&D regions, with two countries (Mauritius and South Africa) in SSA visibly outperforming the rest of the region.

The 20 countries with the highest GOI scores are all Advanced Economies (AEs), including eight nations from the European Union, five G7 economies, and one ASEAN-5 country (Singapore).

These are predominantly major global economies, jointly attracting 64.5% of global foreign capital flows. Across the GOI categories, they perform particularly well in Institutional Frameworks and Business Perception.

E&D Asia performs relatively well in Financial Services, with its average score in this category closely trailing that of E&D Europe and ahead of other E&D regions. This region includes Malaysia, which has the best investment conditions (captured by the highest GOI score) among all E&D economies.

In addition to its robust Business Perception and Financial Services, Malaysia ranked relatively high in the Institutional Framework category, partly due to the strength of investors’ rights in this country, the Index showed.

Global Business Magazine

Global Business Magazine

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