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.


Saudi university leads way with new music academy

Updated 30 min 7 sec ago
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Saudi university leads way with new music academy

  • Taif University (TU) has hired some of the Kingdom's top professional music instructors
  • The music courses will include singing training, involving tuition in vocal keynotes, pitch and sight-reading exercises, and the singing of Arabic poetry

JEDDAH: A Saudi university is hitting the high notes after becoming the first in the Kingdom to offer music courses to students.

Some of the country’s top professional instructors have been hired by Taif University (TU) to run training sessions in singing, poetry and the playing of musical instruments. 

Although the courses are not part of the city university’s curriculum, education chiefs hope the program will lead the way in developing young musical talent in the Kingdom.

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inspired the initiative a year ago, and students are already lining up to join the new music academy on the university’s main campus.

The music courses will include singing training, involving tuition in vocal keynotes, pitch and sight-reading exercises, and the singing of Arabic poetry. Starting next month, experts will also be on hand to teach students how to play the lute, dulcimer and piano.

TU spokesman, Saleh Al-Thubaiti, told Arab News: “TU has turned an idea into reality. The academy offers several projects, the most important of which is the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal International Prize for Arabic Poetry.”

He said that the poetry club at the TU Arab Poetry Academy had attracted more than 850 applications from students wishing to take part in poetry writing, recitation, and music, and they would be performing in concerts this semester.

Al-Thubaiti said: “The poetry-writing course will focus on teaching students aspects of Arabic prosody (the patterns of rhythm and sound used in poetry) in an innovative manner.”

Trainees will be given the opportunity to present their poems at special student soirees and publish their poetry in an online magazine for young people.

The academy also plans to launch an annual on-campus summer gathering for young poets.

Those taking part in the poetry-recitation course will learn how to recite poetry and make audio books for general listeners and people with special needs.

The TU Arab Poetry Academy recently held its first matinee event when faculty members and students recited several poems.

“The university campus is not all about work and textbooks,” Al-Thubaiti said. 

“Students are interested in other activities that can help them develop their talents and skills. We believe the university is providing an environment where students can develop themselves on various personal and academic levels.”

In December last year, the poetry academy held its first concert which was attended by the university’s governor, president, academics and students. It included poetry readings and a performance of national and traditional songs by the university band.

Director of the poetry academy, Dr. Mansour Al-Harthi, told Arab News that 500 students had enrolled on the music course, adding that the city of Taif had long been renowned for its musical activities.