Saudi Arabia, UAE lead Arab world in global competitiveness

Majid Al-Qassabi, who chairs the executive committee of Tayseer, said the move to unify efforts of government agencies. (SPA)
Updated 21 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia, UAE lead Arab world in global competitiveness

  • The UAE ranked 27th out of 140 countries, maintaining its position of last year, thanks to being first globally in macroeconomic stability conditions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE topped the Arab world in the global competitiveness index announced by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which uses a new methodology to fully capture the economic dynamics of 140 countries globally.
The Kingdom, according to the report, has advanced to 39th position on the WEF Global Competitiveness Report for 2018, up two places from its ranking last year.
“The ranking, the Kingdom’s best since 2012, came despite the changes in the assessment methods this year,” said a statement, citing Majid Al-Qassabi, minister of commerce and investment, here on Sunday.
Al-Qassabi said: “The integrated work of more than 40 government agencies is one of the most important factors that led to an improvement of the Kingdom’s ranking in the 2018 report.”
Al-Qassabi, who also chairs the executive committee of Tayseer, said the move to unify efforts of government agencies “contributed in addressing the constraints and challenges, and supporting the private sector in the Kingdom.” Tayseer is an initiative that aims to secure and stimulate the investment environment for the private sector and provide the necessary guarantees for the preservation of rights.
The WEF report said Saudi Arabia achieved a full score of 100 percent in the macroeconomic stability index among other countries in the region. In terms of market size, the Kingdom ranked 17th with 76.3 points, thanks to its high gross domestic product. This year, the WEF increased the number of countries under coverage to 140, which affected the ranking of many countries including the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia also ranked third among Arab countries and 39th globally, supported by its conducive macroeconomic environment, a modern infrastructure, and a large market size. The UAE ranked 27th out of 140 countries, maintaining its position of last year, thanks to being first globally in macroeconomic stability conditions.
The report said that Oman ranked 47th globally, up 14 places from last year, and became fourth in competitiveness in the Arab world. The ranks of the other Arab countries globally are as follows: Bahrain (50), Kuwait (54), Jordan (73), Morocco (75), Lebanon (80), Tunisia (87), Egypt (94), and Yemen at the 139th spot.
The key finding of the report is that the changing nature of economic competitiveness in the world is becoming increasingly transformed by new, digital technologies and creating a new set of challenges for governments and businesses, which collectively run the risk of having a negative effect on future growth and productivity.
According to the report, the 10 most competitive economies are the US, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the UK, Sweden and Denmark.
The report further explains that the competitiveness performance in the Middle East and North Africa remains diverse, with the UAE leading the way in the region. This year’s edition of the Global Competitiveness Report marks an important milestone, as the report series has now been published for 40 years.
The 2018 report ranked 140 economies according to 12 pillars that were weighted equally. These pillars included institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labor market, financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.