UAE Trust Barometer: Unshakeable

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  • UAE ranked third most trusted country in the world, and all four institutions (government, business, NGOs, and media) retain significant trust levels
  • Strong trust in UAE has enabled a sense of cohesion and unity, compared to descent from distrust to acute polarization globally
  • More than two thirds of respondents in the UAE are optimistic about economic prospects

The UAE has once again emerged as one the most unified and trusted countries in the world, according to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer.

The latest report, which surveys 32,000 respondents in 28 countries, found that despite global challenges such as conflict, food insecurity, and climate change resulting in a polarized society, there is unshakable trust in the UAE.

The UAE is ranked the third most trusted country in the world, and all four institutions the index measures trust in (government, business, NGOs, and media) saw significant trust levels. Government once again topped the list as the most trusted institution at 86 percent, followed closely by business at 78 percent. In comparison, business is the only trusted institution globally.

The driver of this high levels of trust in the UAE is a reflection of respondents believing that the government, businesses and NGOs are seen as competent and ethical. As a result, UAE ranks high amongst economic optimism – 72% of respondents believe they will be better off economically in five years’ time, while only 40% of global respondents say they and their families will be better off in five years, a 10-point decline from 2022.

In addition, strong trust in UAE institutions has enabled a sense of cohesion and unit while globally other nations saw entrenched polarization and a weakened social fabric; largely driven by distrust in governments, a lack of shared identity, and systemic inequality.

Omar Qirem, CEO, Edelman Middle East, said: “On a global level, economic optimism continues to decline, with 24 out of 28 countries in our study recording all-time lows, and 53 percent of respondents globally saying that their countries are more divided today than in the past. Despite this cycle of distrust fuelling polarization worldwide, the UAE bucks this trend yet again emerging as a highly unified country in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer report.

“The UAE’s clear long-term social and economic policies has seen the country become one of the most popular and sought-after destinations in the world, attracting expats, businesses, and tourists, while preserving the country’s unique cultural heritage and identity.

“As trust continues to maintain high levels in the UAE, Businesses and CEO’s are expected to take a public stand on societal issues including climate change, discrimination, wealth gap, and treatment of employees. Businesses and governments together can play an integral role in delivering results that push us toward a more just, secure, and thriving society.” he added.   

The report also found:

  • The Power of Brands Create a Shared Identity: 75% of respondents believe that brands have the power to celebrate common interests and strengthen social fabric;
  • All four institutions seen as reliable sources of information in the UAE: All four institutions are a reliable source of trustworthy information, with government information sources seen as the most trustworthy;
  • Experts are trusted: Experts and leaders such as journalists (61%), scientists (84%) and CEOs (68%) are trusted;   
  • CEOs are expected to act: 79% of respondents expect CEOs to speak out on global challenges such as climate change, while 84% expect leaders to stand up for diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI).

The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm’s 23rd annual trust and credibility survey. The research was produced by the Edelman Trust Institute and consisted of 30-minute online interviews conducted between November 1st and November 28th, 2022.

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