Officials pose during the release of 11th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.
For the eighth consecutive year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is seen by young Arabs as a model nation and the number one country to live in, according to the findings from the 11th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, released on Tuesday.
The survey is based on 3,300 face-to-face interviews conducted by international research firm PSB between Jan.6 and Jan.29, 2019 with young Arab nationals aged 18-24 in 15 states in the Middle East and North Africa, with a 50:50 male female split.
More than two in five (44 per cent) young Arabs say the UAE is the country they would want to live in, followed by Canada (22 per cent), United States (21 per cent), Turkey (17 per cent) and the United Kingdom (15 per cent).
The preference of young Arabs for the UAE continues an eight-year trend that has seen the country cement its lead, particularly since 2015 when 20 per cent selected the UAE as their preferred country in which to live, a figure that has now more than doubled in 2019.
Young Arabs also see the UAE as a model nation, with 42 per cent stating they would like their country to emulate it, far surpassing any other Arab or Western country.
The US and Japan tied in second position at 20 per cent each, followed by Turkey (19 per cent) and Canada (18 per cent) rounding out the top five.
Arab youth also view the UAE as a strong ally, with 93 per cent saying the UAE is an ally of their country, surpassing other Arab (Egypt 84 per cent ally; Saudi Arabia 80 per cent) and non-Arab (Turkey 68 per cent, Russia 64 per cent, and US 41 per cent) states.
"The UAE’s growing reputation among Arab youth as the best country to live in and for their nations to emulate highlights the forward-looking development strategy and future-focused vision of the UAE leadership,” said Sunil John, President, ASDA’A BCW.
"In the past eight years of the survey, the positive perception of the Emirates has only gained in strength year-on-year, underlining the UAE as a true beacon of hope and a model nation for young people across the region.
"From investments in world-class infrastructure to the focus of the leadership to build smart, sustainable cities and leverage the advantages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the UAE’s predominant narrative appeals to young people for the job opportunities and the quality of life the nation assures,” John added.
Young Arabs are drawn to the UAE by its wide range of work opportunities (cited by 38 per cent) followed by its safe and secure environment (36 per cent) and generous salary packages (30 per cent). The UAE’s appeal is also led by young Arabs seeing it as a good place to raise a family (22 per cent), the nation’s high-quality education system (20 per cent) and welcoming and friendly expats (20 per cent).
The reasons for the UAE’s popularity go beyond stability and well-paid job opportunities, John said: "I think the fact that over the past eight years the UAE has become an uncontested leader in the eyes of Arab youth really stems from the country’s success in achieving a vision, articulated by the leadership many years ago, of becoming a model country, not just in the Middle East, but globally.”
In a year that the UAE has declared as the Year of Tolerance, the first quarter has already witnessed the visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi in February - the first ever by a Pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula - which was followed, just a month later, by the Special Olympics World Games, also in Abu Dhabi. Next year will see another major global event, with Dubai Expo 2020 expecting to record 25 million visits, with 70 per cent of visitors to come from outside the UAE.
"It is not just that the UAE is increasingly embracing tolerance,” said John, "it’s that in doing so, the Emirates is going against the current sweeping across the region - and much of the world, for that matter - where we see nationalism on the rise. Here, we see a push towards openness, tolerance, and co-existence.”
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