UAE ranks among top 5 most globally connected countries, DHL says

Netherlands, Singapore, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Ireland top the company's Global Connectedness Index 2020

Emirates Airline planes are seen at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

The UAE is among the top five most globally connected nations along with the Netherlands, Singapore, Belgium and Ireland, according to DHL's Global Connectedness Index 2020.

The report, compiled in collaboration between DHL and NYU's Stern Business School, is an assessment of globalisation during the Covid-19 pandemic that tracks international flows of trade, capital, information and people across 169 countries and territories.

"The UAE’s robust logistics capabilities and transport infrastructure enabled the country to sustain open supply chains and trade links," Nour Suliman, chief executive of DHL Express Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement on Wednesday.

This resilience ensured "local access to Covid-19 tests and the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for nationals and residents was one of the highest in the world.”

The index is projected to "fall significantly" in 2020 due to the social distancing effects of Covid-19, such as closed borders, travel bans and grounded passenger airlines, according to the joint statement.

However, the pandemic is unlikely to plunge the world's overall level of connectedness below the levels it stood at during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the report showed. It cited a recovery in trade and capital flows as well as a boom in e-commerce as consumers increasingly resorted to online shopping during movement restrictions.

“This report shows that globalisation did not collapse in 2020, but that the pandemic did transform – at least temporar­ily – how countries connect," Steven Altman, senior research scholar and director of the DHL Initiative on Globalisation at the NYU Stern School of Business, said. "It also demonstrates both the dangers of a world where critical linkages break down and the urgent need for more effective cooperation in the face of global challenges.”

He added that stronger global connectedness could accelerate the world’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as countries that tap more to international flows tend to see faster economic growth.

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