Arab youth choose UAE as model of development and preferred country of residence

Record 88% of Emirati youth believe their country is “heading in the right direction”

Dubai, UAE; April 9, 2013: For the second consecutive year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the country in which most Arab youth would like to live and the country they would most like their own nation to emulate, according to the findings of the fifth annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, released in Dubai today.

Mirroring the results of the 2012 Arab Youth Survey, the UAE continues to be regarded as a model nation. Asked to name the country, anywhere in the world, where they would most like to live, Arab youth, as they did in 2012, cite the UAE as their preference. The UAE is the top choice of 31% of Arab youth across 15 countries in the MENA region, followed by France (18%), the United States and Turkey (16%).

In this year’s Survey, ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller selected international polling firm Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) to complete 3,000 face-to-face interviews with exclusively Arab national men and women aged 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain), Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, and in three new countries added this year: Morocco, Algeria and Yemen. The survey was conducted between December 2012 and January 2013.

When asked which country in the world they would most like their own country to be like, the UAE was voted first, with nearly a third of all youth (30%) naming that country, followed by France (17%), the United States and Turkey (16%), and China (13%) this year taking the fifth position.

A fifth of all Arab youth would also prefer their country to follow the UAE’s model of development, with the country again rated top overall. The UAE is followed by France, the United States and China (each country the preference of 11% of respondents), Turkey (9%) and Germany (7%).

According to the 2013 findings, the desire to live in the UAE is most pronounced among Saudi Arabian youth, with 36% of young people surveyed in the Kingdom citing the UAE as their preference, and Egyptians (35%).

Joseph Ghossoub, Chairman and CEO of the MENACOM Group, the regional parent company of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The UAE’s emphasis on economic diversification, free market reform, technological innovation and investment in human capital resonate around the world, and clearly also continue to strike a chord with Arab youth.”

The popularity of the UAE is also a reflection of the country’s continued economic resilience. Considering the last 12 months, a record 88% of Emirati youth believe their country is heading in the right direction. Further, 63% of Emirati youth surveyed believe their country can “compete on the world stage”, markedly higher than the regional average of 54% who say the same about their country.

Sunil John, Chief Executive Officer of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The findings of the ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2013 echo the success of the UAE in achieving a high standard of development – in keeping with its Vision 2021 to be among the best nations in the world – and its enduring global image as an ideal country in which to live and work.”

The UAE serves as an international gateway connecting more than 2.5 billion people within a four-hour flight. Home to over 200 nationalities, the country ranks first among Arab nations in the UN World Happiness Report 2012 (17th globally), and in the Legatum Prosperity Index 2012 (29th globally).

The UAE also appears at the top of FutureBrand’s ‘Future 15’ list, which identifies nation-state brands set to bring out about transformative economic, political and cultural changes.

According to the 2012 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, the UAE is rated the highest among Arab nations for women empowerment. Women constitute around two-thirds of the public sector workforce in the UAE and are well represented in the UAE legislature, the Federal National Council.

Underlining its economic competitiveness, the UAE is the best country in the Arab World in which to start a business, according to The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2013’ report, and is ranked 26th globally in the report, up three places from 2012.

The UAE ranks 24th in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13, and 16th in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012, improving its position 12 places from 2011.

By hosting the global headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency and through ground-breaking initiatives such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai, the UAE is also increasingly setting the pace for sustainable development and the mitigation of climate change.

The UAE is also widely recognised for its contribution to humanitarian aid, having donated more than AED163 billion (US$45 billion) since its foundation in 1971, and is the world’s 20th most-generous donor nation.

More in-depth findings of the fifth annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey are freely available from the study’s dedicated website: