The UAE ranks among the top three logistics centres in emerging markets as the country continues to boost its digital infrastructure and develop its business environment, according to a survey by logistics company Agility.
The Arab world’s second largest economy ranked third after China and India in the latest Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, that rates countries for overall competitiveness based on their logistics strengths, business climates and digital readiness.
The index is based on a survey of 756 supply chain industry professionals.
“The connection between a country’s digital capabilities and growth prospects is undeniable,” said Agility chief executive Tarek Sultan. “The competitiveness of emerging markets countries will be determined by their ability to develop digitally-skilled businesses and talent pools and find the resolve to lower their emissions in ways that spur growth rather than sacrificing it.”
In terms of digital readiness and business fundamentals, the UAE was placed first among the 50 countries included. Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, was ranked third, while Bahrain and Oman were in fifth and sixth positions, respectively.
Last year, the UAE rolled out a series of initiatives to support its economy and boost its competitiveness.
These included a Dh388 billion ($105.65bn) stimulus programme to offset the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, and a new industrial strategy to increase the contribution of the sector to Dh300bn from Dh133bn in the next 10 years.
It also embarked on economic, legal and social structural reforms aimed at strengthening its business environment, attracting foreign investment, drawing high-skilled talent and incentivising companies to set up or expand their operations in the UAE. Meanwhile, the country is focusing on boosting its digital economy and launched a number of new initiatives to support start-ups.
Industry executives see moderate-to-strong economic growth and little or no chance of a recession in 2022, according to Agility's survey.
Roughly two thirds of the 756 industry professionals believe shippers will see cargo rates come down by the end of the year. Eighty per cent expect port bottlenecks, air capacity shortages and trucking issues to ease by end of the year.
“The industry’s optimism reflects the fact that emerging economies are getting more resilient and figuring out ways to weather supply chain disruption,” Mr Sultan said. “If emerging markets can get better access to vaccines and give small businesses a boost, they can help power a broad, dynamic global recovery.”