The Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) organized a workshop titled “Competitiveness between Theory and Practice”, which was attended by more than 80 representatives from the government, semi- government and the private sector.
This workshop, which was attended by HE Hamad Abdullah Al Mas, the CEO of International Economic Relations, and HE Ghanem Mohammed Al Fendi Al Mazroui, the CEO of DED’s Support Services Sector, aimed to bring into a centre stage world-class standards and tools that measure economic competitiveness in perception and practice for economies, government and semi-government entities as well as private sector corporations. In her keynote speech to welcome attendees, Aisha Al Zaabi, the Executive Director of the Commercial Affairs, said, “We are gearing up into a phase which calls upon us to completely bear in mind that competitiveness is the measure for development and progress at all walks. The DED, following the issuance of the new Law no 2 for 2009, has paid competitiveness extraordinary attention, especially as the Department was mandated within the outputs of Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 to drive knowledge-based economy capable of completely globally.” “This workshop, which the Competitiveness Office is hosting in cooperation with Monitor International Consulting Group, attempts to nurture awareness amongst government and semi-government entities on competitiveness, its various definitions and concepts, and how they are linked to achieve national economic growth”, she added.
“The UAE, despite achieving an overwhelming milestone in last year’s Global Competitiveness Report when it was ranked 25th amongst 133 countries, 8 places up, aims to attain a higher status, especially with Abu Dhabi setting competitiveness as one of the key pillars of for its 2030 economy.”
The Global Competitiveness Report stated the UAE, and especially Abu Dhabi, offers many competitive advantages such as low crime rate, tax exemption, political stability, and limited corruption. Yet, it highlighted that the most prominent challenges for business environment are credit, availability of educated skilled workforce, and laws abiding workers.
Al Zaabi highlighted that the DED is working accordingly through the Competitiveness Office to facilitate joint coordination and cooperation between all government, semi-government and private sector entities to benefit from similar experiences of developed countries in this respect with an aim to help Abu Dhabi reach the peak of its competitive capabilities to achieve 2030 Vision objectives as laid down by its wise Leadership.
“This workshop is important given that the DED sees competitiveness as a vital factor in creating an ideal economic environment integral to ensure sustained growth, promising opportunities for a developed community and sustainable national economy”, Al Zaabi stressed.
“I wish all delegates to benefit from this workshop, its discussions, as well as the recommendations and suggestions of the experts, which will help fuel Abu Dhabi’s competitiveness international-wide”, she concluded.
During the workshop, Dr. Kurt Dussel, the expert in the US competitiveness affairs, highlighted in his presentation the best international practices in economic competitiveness being adopted in the notch countries as well as amongst regional and international organizations and establishments such as World Bank and World Economic Forum. He showcased that some transformations in policies and classifications and presented delegates with recommendations for the general policy, which is the driver for achieving a better ranking in the global competitiveness evaluation.
Dr. Eduardo Chakain, the Brazilian expert in East Asia economic competitiveness issues, presented how the Asian example and how its strengths enabled countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan to achieve best competitiveness standards in the global reports.
At the end of the session, Dutch Professor Steven Gastatar, Dr. Eduardo, and Dr. Dussel debated with participants on existing Abu Dhabi’s economic competitiveness, the Emirate’s strengths and weaknesses, and what can be done to help improve them and enable Abu Dhabi to achieve best practices in business environment.
Acting from its wise Leadership’s guidance and its firm economic foundations, the UAE has been able to transcend the global economic crisis, to take up the 25th position amongst the 133 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report for 2009-2010, 8 ranks up from the 31st position of 2008-2009 report. The UAE held the second position within the GCC, following Qatar.
According to Index of Economic Freedom for 2010 issued by Heritage Foundation, the UAE was placed in the 46th position amongst 179 countries, preceding many other countries such as Malaysia, France, Italy and KSA.
Furthermore, the UAE achieved the first position amongst Middle East and North Africa and 16th position among 125 countries in the 2010 Global Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report, preceding developed countries such as the US and the UK.
The report has shown that the UAE has led in various key aspects of the general index, achieving an advanced ranking in business environment, border management, transport and communications. The report showed that the main challenge faced by trade investors is represented by smooth access to local and overseas market as a result of high custom tariffs and difficult custom procedures.
Within the World Economic Forum’s Information Technology Index for 2009-2010, the UAE tops the region and 23rd amongst the 133 international countries. This network preparedness index centres on the relation between IT, communications and growth preparedness and issued by INSEAD, the Business School. The UAE was followed by Bahrain (29) and Qatar (30). The UAE held the first position amongst Arab countries in the World Economic Forum Index for Financial Sector Development. This 2009 Index cover the world’s best countries in financial progress. The UAE came in the 20th position amongst 55 countries and held the 1st global ranking in banking sector stability.