The UAE maintained its status as the most prosperous country in the Arab world and ranked amongst thirty overall 'Top Performers' worldwide, according to the Legatum Institute's annual prosperity index.
The UAE was ranked 29th worldwide, dropping two places over the last year's ranking but still retained its top position in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena). The Emirate was ranked 47th worldwide in 2009.
The Legatum Prosperity Index is based on assessment of global wealth and wellbeing, which benchmarks 142 countries around the world in eight distinct categories: Economy; Education; Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Health; Personal Freedom; Safety & Security; and Social Capital.
"In the Middle East and North Africa, we are beginning to feel the impact of the Arab Spring, as social cohesion and the number of citizens who believe they can rely on friends and family for help has fallen. As the region adjusts to change, it is important to keep in mind the two factors that the Prosperity Index finds are most closely linked to a country's long term prosperity: Entrepreneurship & Opportunity and effective, accountable government. All policies should link back to these proven drivers of prosperity," said Jeffrey Gedmin, President and CEO of the Legatum Institute.
Tunisia has been hardest hit, falling to 122 out of 142 countries for Social Capital (32 places), with Syria also dropping 30 places (to 131 position) since 2010. Even in those countries not directly involved in the 'Spring', Social Capital has declined. Saudi Arabia fell 21 places, now ranking 43 in the sub-index.
Meanwhile, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity has risen across the region as a result of falling business start-up costs and greater connectivity via mobile phones, Internet connection and security. In Egypt, for example, business start-up costs have decreased from almost 16 per cent of GNI per capita in 2009 to 6 per cent in 2012. Most notably, Saudi Arabia climbed from 54 to 46 for Entrepreneurship & Opportunity, since last year.