A bird’s-eye view of the Dubai skyline.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
A survey of Arab youth in the region revealed that 57% of young Arab men and women preferred to live and start a life in the UAE, according to ASDA’A BCW’s 14th Arab Youth Survey.
The 14th Arab Youth Survey, the most comprehensive survey of its kind of the largest population in the Arab world, which included more than 200 million young men and women, revealed that Arab youth, for the eleventh year in a row, chose the UAE as a country they aspire to live in, and want their countries to imitate it.
The survey found that the UAE is the preferred country for nearly two-thirds (57%) of young Arab men and women between the ages of 18 and 24, outperforming the United States (24%), Canada (20%), France (15%) and Germany (15%).
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, praised the Youth Survey.
Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter, “I looked at a survey of Arab youth conducted by ASDA’A BCW and covering 50 Arab cities in 17 countries. More than half of Arab youth believe that their countries’ economy is not going in the right direction, and 45% of respondents confirmed that they are trying or seriously considering emigrating from their countries. Economy is above all and it is everything.
“In the same poll, the UAE ranked first in the world in which Arab youth want to live... The movement of people away from you or towards you is the biggest and most sincere vote on the success of your experience... This is my message to all governments.”
The popularity of the UAE this year as a preferred place to live reached its highest levels since the survey began asking a question in this regard in 2012, 37% of respondents chose the UAE as their preferred country to live, followed by France and the United States.
The attractiveness of the UAE spreads across the Middle East and North Africa, with its selection by 51% of the youth of North African countries. Next comes the United States (24%).
The UAE was also the first choice for youth in Eastern Mediterranean countries (57%), followed by Canada (31%), and the preferred country to live for 63% of citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, followed by the United States (19%).
For the eleventh year in a row, the UAE has remained the country that most Arab youth want their countries to emulate.
As the model country for 27% of Arab youth in general, the UAE outperformed the United States (22%), Canada (18%), Germany (14%), France (11%), and Turkey (11%).
The booming UAE economy is an important attraction for Arab youth
ASDA’A BCW, the region’s leading public relations consultancy, collaborated with ADS Research and Consulting to conduct 3,400 personal interviews with young Arab men and women between the ages of 18-24 years in 50 cities across 17 Arab countries during the period from May 13 to June 16. The sample of participants was distributed equally between the sexes.
The survey found that the top 5 attractions in the UAE are its growing economy (27%), its safe environment (26%), its rewarding salary packages (22%), the wide range of job opportunities it provides (22%), and the wise leadership of the country (17 %).
Other attractions to the UAE include its respect for the region's cultural traditions, the quality of its education system, ease of starting businesses, and low taxes.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Sunil John, President of BCW Middle East and founder of ASDA’A BCW, said, “As a model country in the region for the eleventh year in a row, the UAE continues to embody the spirit of hope and opportunity for Arab youth across the Middle East and North Africa."
“The growing popularity of the UAE is the best evidence of the success of its wise leadership, which succeeded in hosting and organizing the best Expo in the history of the event - despite all the global turmoil left by the Covid-19 pandemic — and it is currently preparing to host the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change In November 2023.
John added, "This highlights the high position that the UAE enjoys in the most important issues mentioned by Arab youth in the survey, such as job opportunities, the quality of education, and the preservation of the region's values and cultural traditions."
Emirati youth welcome the government's directions and plan for sustainable development
Most Emiratis welcome the government's approach to sustainable development
More than 9 out of 10 (94%) agreed with the recent government amendments regarding the extension of residency periods for expatriates, and the introduction of new laws to obtain them more easily; while 84% supported the decision to allow foreigners to own 100% of companies within the country. 83% also approved the soon-to-be-introduced corporate tax; 9 out of 10 (87%) supported adopting the Monday-Friday working week. Moreover, more than half (54%) recognise the right of unmarried men and women to live together.
Optimism about the future is the main characteristic of Emirati youth
Most of the Arab youth are optimistic about their coming days, especially the Emirati youth. Where 91% of them said that their next days are better, and all found that their country's economy is heading in the right direction. About half of the Emirati nationals (48%) included in the study indicated that it was easy to find a job in their country.
Although they undoubtedly enjoy many advantages, compared to the rest of their Arab peers, the Emiratis do not overlook the challenges facing the region in general. 45% of them see the rising cost of living as the biggest obstacle to the region, followed by unemployment (27%) and climate change (18%).
Religion and nationality are essential to the identity of Emirati youth
A third of Emiratis participating in the survey (33%) said their religion and nationality are the most important elements in expressing their identity, compared to 41% of the general Arab youth who considered religion the main thing.
Like their Arab peers across the region, the majority of Emirati youth (75%) say preserving the religious and cultural identity of the Arab world is more important than creating a more globalized society. However, while 55 percent of the general Arab youth say that the Arabic language is less important to them than their parents, half of young Emiratis say the opposite.
Perhaps the apparent conservatism of Emirati youth is matched by the almost total acceptance of gender equality. About nine out of 10 respondents (89%) of Emirati citizens indicate equal rights for men and women, while 84% of them indicate equal employment opportunities for both parties.
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Sheikh Mohammed defined these characteristics as being among those who represent youth issues, convey their opinions, and follow government files that concern them