Young Arabs see UAE as a ‘model’ country: survey
DUBAI // Young Arabs across the region see the UAE as a model country they would like their nations to emulate, a new study shows.
It is the sixth year in a row that the UAE was rated the best, with 36 per cent of the vote, ahead of the US in second and Canada third. The figure is a 13 per cent rise on last year.
The findings are from the ninth annual Arab Youth Survey, which interviewed 3,500 Arabs aged 18 to 24 from 16 countries.
More than a third of those questioned, 35 per cent, say the UAE is also their preferred destination to live.
“The UAE is widely seen by young Arabs in the region as safe and secure, with a growing economy and a wide range of work opportunities,” the report said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, welcomed the results of the survey.
“The UAE is a country for everyone. The ambitions of young Arabs align with ours, and our dream is for the entire Arab region to prosper.
“The young people surveyed identified the UAE not only as a regional role model, but also as the No 1 ally to their nations.”
A third of respondents say the country is safe and secure, a quarter believe it has a growing economy, and a quarter say it has a range of job opportunities.
Elsewhere, the report, organised by public relations company Asda’a Burson-Marstellar, shows a growing rift in attitudes among the “haves and have nots” in the region.
“Optimism is waning among Arab youth, with young Arabs in the Gulf being the ones overwhelmingly optimistic about the direction of their countries,” said the report.
Overall, only 52 per cent of those polled say they feel things in their countries are moving in the right direction, a drop of 12 per cent from last year.
But in the GCC, 85 per cent say their countries are headed in the right direction, although the same percentage of respondents in the Levant countries and Yemen say things are going in the wrong direction.
Even over the longer term, two thirds living in the Levant and Yemen feel their best days are behind them, compared with 78 per cent in the GCC who believe their best days are ahead.
Despite the positive results for the UAE, overall, confidence in the economy of countries in the region has declined by 9 per cent from last year, to 52 per cent.
Again, respondents in the GCC overwhelmingly feel their countries are moving in the right direction, at 82 per cent, but only one in five living in the Levant and Yemen felt the same.
Across the region , 81 per cent of young Arabs want their countries to do more to address their needs.
Young people in the GCC and North Africa generally feel their governments have the right policies to address their needs but 74 per cent in the Levant and Yemen feel they do not.
Unemployment, ISIL and the threat of terrorism are the biggest obstacles in the region, each scoring about 35 per cent.
“Concern about unemployment has increased since 2016, with young Iraqis expressing the strongest concerns [69 per cent],” said the report.
Overall, just over half say they are “very worried” about the issue, an increase of 9 per cent from last year. And only half have confidence in their governments dealing with the issue.
“Outside the GCC, few think their education system prepares students for the jobs of the future,” the report said.
Two thirds believe ISIL has become weaker in the past year but in Libya (41 per cent), Yemen (39 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (37 per cent) say the terror group is stronger.
But overall concerns about the extremist group have declined to 36 per cent from 50 per cent last year.
Although four in five young Arabs view Arabic as central to their national identity, three in five also feel it is losing its value.
The study also found that Facebook (64 per cent) has become the main source of news. WhatsApp and Facebook (both 68 per cent) and YouTube (50 per cent) are the most popular social media platforms in the region.
Watch below: Arab Youth Survey findings debated
Updated: May 3, 2017 04:00 AM