UAE ranked first in the region with an overall score of 57.58

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#UAE Tops #MasterCard 2015 Middle East and Africa Inclusive Growth Index

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 24 June, 2015: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has topped MasterCard’s 2015 Middle East and Africa (MEA) Inclusive Growth Report, with a score of 57.58. Closely following the UAE’s lead is Qatar, in second place (55.2), followed by Bahrain (54.5), Saudi Arabia (51.4) and Oman (50.9). The findings serve as a performance indicator on the pace and pattern of regional economic growth and seek to benchmark MEA developing nations against the developed countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Chief Economist for the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth and co-author of the study said: “In order to support MEA countries in their pursuit of economic development, and more specifically in meeting the challenge of diversifying their economies from narrowly based resource extraction and exports, our Report seeks to assess present and enabling conditions that are driving inclusive growth, and to suggest ways in which improvements can be made. To that end, present conditions include economic growth and expanding economic opportunity, as well as equality of outcomes and similarity in the economic conditions of individuals; while enabling conditions involve employment and productivity, access to economic opportunity, governance and youth.”

The report spotlighted the UAE for its regional leadership position and dedication to advancing its performance across both present and enabling conditions, and persevering in diversifying its economy away from oil and gas. This, combined with enhancing its education, healthcare and tourism sectors, has resulted in the creation of more job opportunities and increased sustainability, resulting in a higher inclusive growth score which is a mere 6.8 points behind the global OECD average of 64.38.

That said, the report highlights that further inclusive growth can be driven through job creation and encouraging an entrepreneurial ecosystem to support a thriving economy.

“It could be argued that inclusive growth is the solution for economic development concerns in the MEA region,” explains Dr. Yasar Jarrar, Vice Chair of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government (World Economic Forum), and co-author of the report. “When income distribution and opportunities are equalized, countries will be able to boost local consumption, power growth, and reduce poverty and unemployment, while also seeing a rise in social and economic mobility, leading to an expanding, dynamic and increasingly prosperous middle class.”

He added that the UAE’s leadership position can be attributed to its continued focus on economic diversification, national competitiveness, and its encouragement of entrepreneurship – all of which are essential to meeting the demands of a burgeoning youth population. As an example, Jarrar referenced the recently announced government backed ‘UAE Innovation’ strategy, which has been designed to boost interest and job creation in seven critical sectors and those are renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.

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About the authors:

Yuwa Hedrick-Wong

Chief Economist for the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong is a business strategist and economist with 25 years of experience gained in over thirty countries. He was appointed Global Economic Advisor to MasterCard Worldwide in 2009. Prior to this role, he was Economic Advisor to MasterCard in Asia/Pacific, a position he held since 2001. As economic advisor, he chairs a MasterCard Knowledge Panel of leading economists, policy analysts, academics and business strategists for regular exchange and knowledge sharing. In 2007 he was appointed Advisor at Southern Capital Group, a private equity fund; and in 2008 he was appointed to the Investment Council of ICICI, India’s largest private bank.

Yuwa is also currently the HSBC Visiting Professor of International Business at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, and is a frequent speaker at numerous international high-profile conferences.

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Yasar Jarrar, PhD

Partner Advisor at Bain & Company Member

Yasar was a Partner in PwC and led the ME Strategy Group, Global Education Group, and established the ME Public Sector Institute.  Prior to joining PwC, Yasar worked as the Executive Dean of the Dubai School of Government. He also served as the Strategy Advisor at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai for over three years and a as Senior Advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office (UAE Federal Government).

Prior to that, Yasar established and led the Government Performance Directorate in the Prime Ministry of Jordan, and previously was the Head of Policy and Strategy in the Executive Council of the Dubai Government.

In 2009, Yasar was distinguished as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and founded the WEF’s Global Shapers Hub in Dubai. He is also a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government since 2009.

Yasar published extensively in various academic and trade journals, and his insights have been quoted in global and regional media. He is also the author of a forthcoming book “The Sheikh CEO: Leadership Lessons from Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum”.


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