UAE wins the popularity context for Arab Youth

454For the third consecutive year, the United Arab Emirates has been named as the country in which most Arab youth would like to live as well as the country they would most like their own nation to emulate, according to the findings of the 6th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, released today.  The survey is conducted by the international polling firm PSB with 3,500 Arab nationals aged 18-24 in 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

When asked to name the country in which they would most like to live from a list of 20 nations including the USA, UK, France and Germany, Arab youth once again cite the UAE as their top choice. The UAE was named by two in five respondents (39 per cent) – up from 31 per cent in 2012 – almost twice as many as the second ranked nation the United States (21 per cent), with Saudi Arabia ranked third (14 per cent) just ahead of France (13 per cent) and Qatar (13 per cent).

When asked which country in the world they would most like their own country to be like, the UAE again ranks first, retaining the number one spot as a model nation among young Arabs for the third year. Two in five youth (39 per cent) name the UAE, followed by the United States (25 per cent), with France (14 per cent), Turkey (10 per cent) and China (7 per cent) completing the top five places.  Again, the UAE showed a strong year-on-year increase, up from 30 per cent in 2013.

Joseph Ghossoub, Chairman and CEO of the MENACOM Group, the regional parent company of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The vision and wisdom shown by the UAE’s leadership – with an emphasis on economic diversification, free market reform, technological innovation and investment in human capital – resonate around the world, and clearly continue to strike a chord with Arab youth. This vote of confidence from young people around the region strengthens the UAE Government’s resolve to continue to provide the best possible environment for living, working, and doing business.”

The UAE was ranked as the happiest Arab country and the 17th happiest in the world in the 2013 World Happiness Report, commissioned by the United Nations. These findings are echoed in the 6th Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, with UAE nationals ranking highest among the nationals of all 16 countries when asked about a sense of optimism in the future of their country. Seven in ten young Emiratis (69 per cent) agree with the statement “I feel optimistic about what the future holds for my country”, more than any other national group,  and significantly more than just over half of respondents (55 per cent) overall.

Sunil John, CEO of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, said: “The popularity of the UAE is likely a reflection of the country’s strong economic outlook and status as a safe haven amid the regional political turmoil. The Gulf state, the Arab world’s second largest economy with a GDP of nearly $390bn, is expected to grow 4.5 per cent in 2014 on the back of a number of factors including its successful bid to host Expo 2020. Its moderate government coupled with the ease of doing business has placed the country in a unique position to be able to attract foreign direct investment.”

Regional confidence among Arab youth in their national governments was notable in the survey’s findings. Across the Arab world more than two thirds (68 per cent) of young people are either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat confident’ in their government’s ability to deal with the rising rates of unemployment, while similar numbers are optimistic about their ability to deal with war (67 per cent) and enhance living standards (66 per cent).

The 2014 Arab Youth Survey, commissioned by ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and conducted by the international polling firm PSB, involved 3,500 face-to-face interviews with Arab national men and women aged 18-24, covering 16 countries – and is the largest polling since the annual study began in 2008. The countries included are the six Gulf Cooperation Council states (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain), Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen – with Palestine added for the first time this year.

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