UAE Performance on Latest Social Progress Index Pinpoints Key Weaknesses



The United Arab Emirates came 37th in the 2014 Social Progress Index. The country also holds the leading position in the Middle East region. However, the UAE scored poorly in two vital categories.

The Social Progress Index (SPI) includes over 130 countries from every part of the world. It is based on different factors like personal safety, sustainability, health, shelter, access to information, access to education, sanitation, tolerance and others. It examines whether a country can meet the needs of its citizens. In addition, it studies whether a country can provide opportunities for its citizens to further improve their lives.

This year, the United Arab Emirates found a place among the top 40 countries on the list. According to the report, it registered an impressive performance in spheres like basic medical care, as well as nutrition. In addition, the country is said to excel in offering people access to basic knowledge. However, researchers also note that the UAE needs to work more on its ecosystem sustainability and other factors that have to do mainly with opportunity. The categories in which the country saw its lowers scores concern people’s position in society. Even though the United Arab Emirates witnessed strong performance in personal freedom and choice, it did not do well in the category personal rights.

Together with the UAE, Kuwait is the second country from the Middle East to make it to the top 50 of the index. Saudi Arabia and Jordan can be seen further down the list on the 65th and 75th positions, respectively. Unfortunately, most of the region’s representatives can be seen at the bottom of the ranking. Iran barely found a place in the top 100. Iraq and Yemen, however, did even worse and ended up on the 118th and 125th positions, respectively.

The global leader on the Social Progress Index this year is New Zealand. The country was found to have excellent performance across all categories. Both its social and environmental scores contribute to its fast-speed progress. New Zealand (1), Canada (7) and Australia (10) were the only non-European countries in the top 10. Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden each contributed to Europe’s domination on the ranking this year.

Interestingly, some of the most powerful economies did not stand out on the index. Germany (13), the United Kingdom (13), Japan (14), as well as the United States (16) received low scores in across a number of categories.

  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Australia
  • 37. United Arab Emirates
  • 40. Kuwait

According to experts, indexes based on the countries’ GDP are not indicative for the state of their progress. The Social Progress Index, on the other hand, could easily pinpoint the exact areas on which economies need to focus their attention.


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