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Arab youth prefer UAE over Canada, US: Sheikh Mohammed

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 30/04/2019 Angel Tesorero
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wearing a hat © Provided by Galadari Printing & Publishing LLC

The UAE has reinforced its status as the most attractive country to live in for young Arabs, consistently edging Western countries such as the US, UK and Canada, based on the 11th ASDA'A BCW Arab Youth Survey that was released in Dubai on Tuesday.

Forty-four per cent or four out of 10 young Arabs say that the UAE is the country they would want to live in; followed by Canada (22 per cent); US (21 per cent); Turkey (17 per cent); and the UK (15 per cent).

The recent survey results have placed the UAE on top as "a model nation and the number one country to live in" in the past eight years.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, hailed this recognition on his official Twitter account and told the Arab youth: "The UAE was and will always be your country, a part of a beautiful Arab world that will continue prospering with your energy and aspirations."

The annual survey is based on 3,300 face-to-face interviews commissioned by PR consultancy firm ASDA'A BCW and conducted by international research company PSB between January 6 and January 29 this year, among Arab nationals aged 18-24 in 15 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, with a 50:50 male-female ratio.

Back in 2015, 20 per cent of the respondents selected the UAE as their preferred country, but this figure has more than doubled this year, ASDA'A BCW noted.

"The UAE's growing reputation among the Arab youth as the best country to live in and for their nations to emulate highlights the forward-looking development strategy and future-focused vision of the UAE leadership," said Sunil John, president of ASDA'A BCW.

"In the past eight years of the survey, the positive perception of the UAE has only gained in strength year-on-year, underlining the country as a true beacon of hope and a model nation for young people across the region," he added

Forty-two per cent of young Arabs also say they would like their countries to emulate the UAE, with the US and Japan tied in second position as model nations at 20 per cent each; followed by Turkey (19 per cent); and Canada (18 per cent).

Some 93 per cent of Arab youth also view the UAE as an ally of their countries, surpassing other nations such as Egypt (84 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (80 per cent), as well as non-Arab nations like Turkey (68 per cent), Russia (64 per cent) and the US (41 per cent).

Meanwhile, they say religion plays "too big a role" in the Middle East and believe that religious institutions should be reformed.

Moreover, three in four young Arabs are concerned about the quality of education in their countries, and two in three say they would prefer to pursue higher education abroad.

They also view Saudi Arabia and the US as the two nations increasing their influence in the region, more than any other countries.

In terms of economy, young Arabs are driving the region's e-commerce boom. They also view social media as more trustworthy than traditional media.

What the youth has to say

Marwa Jarkas, Syrian youth

I was raised in the UAE, and I've witnessed the amount of support this country has put into action to support the youth consistently. I see the UAE as a hub for talented youth; encouraging us to explore our inner passion, interact with a diverse population, continue to learn, and most importantly, dare to accept challenges and take risks.

Mariam Khalifeh, Jordanian youth

I'm not surprised by the latest survey results. The UAE - Dubai, in particular - has outdone itself to be a city for everyone, especially the youth. With the investment in many youth initiatives and even designated spaces like the youth hub in Emirates Towers, the attention on and care for the youth is really evident. Dubai creates so many opportunities and career development options that aren't easily found elsewhere.

Mohammed Soliman, Lebanese youth

I like how the UAE is focusing on always improving its economy and creating better government services, including education, healthcare, sports and leisure. There is also a strong focus on family, social security and technological innovation. In fact, the UAE has just recently sent to space its first satellite fully built by Emirati engineers. I hope other governments, particularly in Levant, would emulate these positive trends.

Omar Abdullah, Sudanese youth

The UAE is truly a model nation. It is an advanced country that is consistent in delivering services but also in making everybody - locals and expats alike - happy. I really would like to stay here for a long time. I hope, however, that the cost of living will not go up fast to make it more affordable for a working expat like me to live in the UAE.

angel@khaleejtimes.com

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