The United Arab Emirates retains its position as the top country Arab youth would like to live in and want their own countries to emulate for the seventh consecutive year, according to the ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2018, released on Tuesday.
The 10th annual survey also reveals that young Emiratis are extremely optimistic about their future and young Arabs across the region view the UAE as the top ally of their respective countries.
The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic, its youth. For this year’s survey, international polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with men and women aged 18-24 in 16 Arab nations, between 21st January and 20th February, 2018.
More than one-in-three (35 percent) respondents across the 16 Arab countries, say the UAE is the country they would most like to live in, far surpassing global powers such as the US, Canada (both 18 percent), Germany (12 percent) as well as Saudi Arabia (16 percent) and other Arab countries. More than a third (37 percent) of Arab youth also say the UAE is a model country for their own, once again far surpassing the US, Canada (both 17 percent), Japan (15 percent), and others.
Young Emiratis agree with the positive perceptions of the UAE across the region, with 99 percent of the UAE’s youth saying their country is heading in the right direction and more than four-in-five (85 percent) saying their best days are ahead of them. The survey’s findings correspond to the UAE’s position in international rankings. The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 2018 World Happiness Report ranks the UAE as the happiest Arab country and 20th out of 156 countries overall. The UAE also leads the region in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business table, and, according to the World Economic Forum, is first among the GCC states for gender equality.
Sunil John, Founder of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and President of the Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said, “Throughout the survey’s history, the UAE has consistently been chosen by Arab youth as the nation that best fits their aspirations. As one of the first countries in the region to focus on diversifying the economy to create better opportunities for its young people, the UAE continues to inspire the region with its future-focused vision.”
Among young Arabs across the region, the UAE also remains the top ally, with 37 percent saying it is their country’s top ally, followed by Saudi Arabia (35 percent), Kuwait (22 percent), Russia (20 percent), and Egypt (19 percent). Young Emiratis view Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait as their country’s top allies.
Young Emiratis also expressed strong support for the introduction of Value Added Tax, VAT. Nearly three-in-four (71 percent) young Emiratis say they support the 5 percent VAT, introduced by the UAE government in January 2018.