The UAE tops all emerging economies in business climate and digital readiness to secure number one position as the most competitive emerging market in GCC and third globally after China and India, latest data shows.

The annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index highlighted that the UAE led all 50 countries in the Index in creating the best business conditions and in the area of digital readiness, a new category in the Index.

Digital readiness assesses digital skills, training, Internet access, e-commerce growth, investment climate, and ability to nurture startups, as well as sustainability factors such as renewable energy mix, lower emissions intensity and green initiatives.

Experts, executives cheer

Tarek Sultan, chief executive of Agility, said the connection between a country’s digital capabilities and growth prospects is undeniable.

“The competitiveness of emerging markets countries will be determined by their ability to develop digitally skilled businesses and talent pools and find the resolve to lower their emissions in ways that spur growth rather than sacrificing it,” Sultan said.

Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said logistics is one of the key drivers in the development of the UAE economy. “I am happy to see UAE taking leading position in this index. The UAE, being such a small country in comparison to China and India, and still getting this kind of recognition is commendable,” Maniar told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

Dr Lal Bhatia, Chairman, Hilshaw Group, said it comes as no surprise that the UAE has ranked third in Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index by topping all emerging economies in digital readiness.

He said the pandemic caused negative disruption to almost every industry, especially transport and logistics. However, the remarkability of how the UAE leadership and businesses recognised the reality of Covid-19 as a health crisis rather than an economic one and responded as such is truly commendable.

“While supply chains worldwide were getting affected and exposing their weakness, the UAE and especially Dubai were adapting to the new challenges through dynamic resolutions and expressing their sector leadership in digital transformation and futuristic technologies,” Bhatia told Khaleej Times.

Mohammed Shaheen, CEO, Seven Capitals, said the UAE’s commitment to strengthening its business environment and pushing hard to diversify and integrate their economies by developing world-class infrastructure and creating fair, transparent condition is flawless.

“I believe it’s the 13th-year of the index and the UAE has proven to be on the top within the GCC countries from many years. It’s under the great guidance of the ruling bodies that nation continues to strive for successful voyage,” Shaheen told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

The UAE leads

The UAE out-performed all participating nations in business fundamentals, an area where Gulf and Mena countries are clear leaders. Others near the top include Saudi Arabia (3), Bahrain (5), Oman (6), Morocco (9), Jordan (10), and Kuwait (12).

Top 10 countries in digital readiness include UAE, Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, Qatar, Indonesia, Chile and Philippines. Kuwait (12) and Oman (15) also ranked high in the index.

“The UAE combines top-ranking performance in both the business fundamentals and digital readiness categories to rank third overall in the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. The Emirates combines these significant strengths with top five rankings in both domestic and international logistics opportunities,” according to the Logistics index.

Overall, Saudi Arabia (6) and Qatar (7) also ranked among the top 10 emerging markets in the 2022 Index. Oman (14), Bahrain (15) and Kuwait (17) also performed well and joined top-20 rankings of the logistics index compiled by a leading analysis and research firm Transport Intelligence (Ti).

Freight rates to come down

Roughly two-thirds of the 756 industry professionals surveyed for the index believe shippers will see cargo rates come down by the end of the year. About 80 per cent see port bottlenecks, air capacity shortages and trucking issues easing by year end.

“The industry’s optimism reflects the fact that emerging economies are getting more resilient and figuring out ways to weather supply chain disruption,” Sultan said.

“If emerging markets can get better access to vaccines and give small business a boost, they can help power a broad, dynamic global recovery.”

2022 Index highlights

China and India, the world’s two largest countries, held their spots at No. 1 and 2 in the overall rankings. UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Mexico and Turkey rounded out the top 10. Vietnam, No. 8 in 2021, fell to 11th, switching places with Thailand. South Africa ranked No. 24, highest ever for a country in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Powerhouse exporters China, India and Mexico topped the rankings for international logistics and UAE leading in the GCC. China, India and Indonesia ranked highest for domestic logistics.

• Overall Index rankings for Latin America: Mexico (9), Chile (12), Brazil (16), Uruguay (23), Colombia (25), Peru (26), Argentina, (31), Ecuador (38), Paraguay (41), Bolivia (44), Venezuela (48).

• Index rankings for Sub-Saharan Africa: South Africa (24), Kenya (28), Ghana (32), Nigeria (34), Tanzania (42), Uganda (43), Ethiopia (45), Mozambique (46), Angola (47).

• In the Middle East and North Africa, rankings were: UAE (3), Saudi Arabia (6), Qatar (7), Turkey (10), Oman (14), Bahrain (15), Kuwait (17), Jordan (19), Morocco (20), Egypt (21), Iran (30), Lebanon (35), Tunisia (36), Algeria (37), Libya (50).

• Rankings in Asia: China (1), India (2), Malaysia (4), Indonesia (5), Thailand (8), Vietnam (11), Philippines (18), Kazakhstan (22), Pakistan (27), Sri Lanka (33), Bangladesh (39), Cambodia (40), Myanmar (49).


Copyright © 2022 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

Disclaimer: The content of this article is syndicated or provided to this website from an external third party provider. We are not responsible for, and do not control, such external websites, entities, applications or media publishers. The body of the text is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither we nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this article. Read our full disclaimer policy here.