The UAE was placed ahead of 20 other countries including the US, Germany and Britain, when respondents interviewed for the annual Arab Youth Survey were asked to list a country anywhere in the world they would like to stay in.
UAE named as best country to live in for a second year, survey reveals
DUBAI // Arab youths have named the UAE as the country they would most like to live in – for a second successive year.
They also, for the second year, picked the UAE as the nation they would like their home country to emulate.
The UAE was ahead of 20 other countries, including the United States, Germany and Britain, as young people’s top country to live in.
In this year’s Arab Youth Survey 39 per cent chose the UAE, up from 31 per cent last year. The US was second with 21 per cent. Saudi Arabia had 14 per cent, followed by France and Qatar at 13 per cent each.
Young people in Qatar were the most favourable towards the UAE, with 42 per cent favouring the Emirates.
Experts believe the UAE’s popularity is based on a strong economic outlook, moderate government, ease of conducting business here and its reputation as a safe haven in a region of political unrest.
Emiratis were also upbeat about the way ahead, with seven in 10 young people agreeing with the statement: “I feel optimistic about what the future holds for my country.”
The survey showed that young Emiratis were the most confident about their prospects with 50 per cent believing they had more opportunities now than a year ago, compared with the overall Arab figure of 40 per cent.
This pushed the UAE to the top of the 16 countries polled in terms of hope for the future.
The banning of the veil and a weakening economy were the reasons for France slipping from second position last year to the fourth slot this year, experts said.
“It is not surprising that Europe is not a place that Arab youth most want to live in. It is to do with the banning of the veil by France and the drop in the economic prospects,” said Jeremy Galbraith, chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Europe Middle East and Africa.
Turkey, which occupied the fourth spot last year, is no longer in the world’s top-five ranked countries that Arab youth chose to live in.
The US was the only non-Arab country that showed a rise in favourable perception – increasing to 25 per cent from 16 per cent last year.
Fewer Arab youths lean towards non-Arab countries, with just 14 per cent naming France as the country they would like their nation to follow – down from 17 per cent last year.
About 10 per cent expressed a preference for Turkey, down from 16 per cent last year, and 7 per cent favoured China, which slipped from 13 per cent in 2013.
The survey did not include Syria due to the unrest in the country.
“The region has been through a tumultuous time economically, politically and socially, but what inspires me is that the young people show resilience and optimism,” said Joseph Ghossoub, chairman of the communications conglomerate the Menacom Group.
“This fills me with pride because optimism remains despite the uncertainty the region is faced with.”
The survey results echo the United Nations-commissioned 2013 World Happiness Report that ranked the UAE as the happiest Arab country and the 17th happiest in the world.