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UAE ranked world’s fifth most connected country

DUBAI, February 15, 2019

The UAE has been ranked as the first in the Middle East and North Africa and fifth worldwide in the Global Connectedness Index (GCI) 2018 released by DHL.

The UAE rose five places on the index to rank fifth in the world after The Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and Belgium.

The country’s rank stood at 18th in 2004. It entered the top 10 in 2012 (ranking ninth) and continued rising all the way to its present position.

The UAE has proactively supported connectedness by, for example, fostering vibrant activity in free trade zones such as the Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone (ADAFZ) that focus on non-oil products as part of the government’s economic diversification strategy. Israel, Bahrain, Mauritius, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles and Lebanon all made it into the Index’s Top 50, while Sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea on the West African coastline showed remarkable improvements in connectivity.

The 2018 index measures the current state of globalisation, as well as individual rankings for each country, based on the depth (intensity of international flows) and breadth (geographical distribution of flows) of countries’ international connections. The world’s top five most globally connected countries in 2017 were the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium and the UAE. Middle East and North Africa is the world’s third-most connected region, behind Europe and North America.

“While oil exports continue to underpin the Emirates’ connectedness to the global economy, the establishment of free trade zones like the ADAFZ has attracted businesses worldwide, serving as a strategic hub and gateway to Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the wider region,” said Nour Suliman, CEO Middle East and North Africa, DHL Express. “Increased trade from companies based in these zones have directly contributed to the rise in the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in sectors like aviation, pharmaceuticals, technology and e-commerce, accounting for 62 per cent of total trade. Over the past few years, deals with key partners like Saudi Arabia have reached $10 billion, while UAE-India trade partnerships are expected to cross $100 billion by 2020.”

“The region continues to face geopolitical headwinds as well as issues around quality and reliability of infrastructure, but things are changing thanks to new policies and investments from government and industry alike. DHL Express recently opened a $5.8 million logistics facility in Jordan as part of the company’s commitment to invest $170 million in infrastructure developments across Middle East and Africa as we continue to drive greater regional and global connectedness with innovative, high-quality end-to-end logistics services.”

The new GCI report represents the first comprehensive assessment of developments in globalisation across 169 countries and territories since the Brexit referendum in the UK and the 2016 presidential election in the US. In spite of growing anti-globalisation tensions in many countries, connectedness reached an all-time high in 2017, as the flows of trade, capital, information and people across national borders all intensified significantly for the first time since 2007. Strong economic growth boosted international flows while key policy changes such as US tariff increases had not yet been implemented.

A central theme of research by GCI co-authors Steven A. Altman and Pankaj Ghemawat is that at the global level, the world is still less connected than most people think it is, even after globalisation’s recent gains. For example, just about 20 per cent of economic output around the world is exported, roughly 7 per cent of phone call minutes (including calls over the internet) are international, and only 3 per cent of people live outside the countries where they were born. The report also debunks the belief that distance is becoming irrelevant. Most countries are much more connected to their neighbours than to distant nations.

Emerging economies remain less connected than advanced economies
The GCI continues to reveal vast differences between levels of globalisation in advanced versus emerging economies. Emerging economies trade almost as intensively as advanced economies, but advanced economies are more than three times as deeply integrated into international capital flows, five times for people flows, and almost nine times with respect to information flows. Additionally, while leaders from large emerging markets have become major supporters of globalisation on the world stage, emerging economies’ progress in terms of global connectedness has stalled. - TradeArabia News Service




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