The UAE is among the top 10 most powerful passports in the world for investment opportunities, thanks to its stable economy and focus on innovation, according to a new index by investment migration consultancy firm Global Citizen Solutions.
The UAE came sixth out of 197 countries on the investment index, with advantages such as zero personal taxation and a high gross national income (GNI) per capita, the report said on Tuesday.
"The UAE has a stable economy, strong international relations and has focused greatly on innovation and digital transformation in recent years," Patricia Casaburi, managing director at Global Citizen Solutions, told The National.
While the UAE passport ranked sixth "with an excellent performance across the board", it dropped one position from last year due to the performance of the US, which climbed two positions on the list, she said.
"From the point of view of investors, it is important to note there have been increased direct foreign investments pouring into the UAE in recent years, with progressive policies on economic diversification making a wave among investors who are looking to reduce investment risks," Ms Casaburi said.
Foreign direct investment in the UAE rose to a record $23 billion last year as the Arab world’s second-largest economy rose six places to become the 16th largest FDI recipient in the world, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
With a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in investment inflow, the UAE was the top FDI destination in the six-member GCC, accounting for 61 per cent of total investment in the region, Unctad said in its World Investment Report 2023 last month.
The Emirates received 997 greenfield projects, an 84 per cent annual increase, which made it the fourth largest recipient of such projects globally after the US, UK and India, Unctad said.
Global Citizen Solutions' investment index rates countries according to the most powerful destinations for business by assessing a country’s economy and business environment. It offers an overview of its economic strength, investment opportunities and ease of doing business.
A country's business climate is based on six pillars from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index – financial system, market size, business dynamism, product market, labour market and innovation capability.
The UAE's score of 82 in the investment index comes from the sum of three indicators used in the methodology: global competitiveness (weighed at 50 per cent), GNI per capita (25 per cent) and personal tax rates (25 per cent).
Other GCC countries in the top 10 were Qatar in seventh and Saudi Arabia in 10th.
Singapore emerged as the strongest passport in the world in terms of investment opportunities and ease of doing business for the second consecutive year, the index found.
With one the world's highest GNI per capita and personal taxation at 22 per cent, the passport as rated highly, making it the "most favourable" country in which to invest, the report said.
Singapore also tops the Enhanced Mobility Index, offering visa-free access or visa on arrival to 174 countries, including the US.
Its score is due to "the country's acceptance of expats and entrepreneurs looking to expand their business to the Asian market", Ms Casaburi said in the report.
"Singapore is a financial cornerstone for trade and, alongside this, the country offers a progressive legal and regulatory framework, with a well-developed infrastructure. These factors make Singapore an attractive honeypot for investors.”
Singapore also offers favourable lending options, tax incentives and attractive property options in which to invest, the firm said.
The top 10 passports for investment opportunities on the index are:
2. Hong Kong
3. United States
6. United Arab Emirates
10. Saudi Arabia
The lowest five countries for investment opportunities were Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Chad, the index found.