Consistency is what underpins the UAE's desirability for young Arabs

For a 12th consecutive year, the Emirates has been named as the place young people in the region most want to live

Young people in Amman attend a free concert to celebrate the wedding of Jordan's Crown Prince in May. A majority of Arab youths interviewed in a new survey said the opportunities offered by the UAE were appealing. AFP
Powered by automated translation

In a fast-paced and unpredictable world, there is a lot to be said for consistency. Although individual flashes of genius or inspiration can attract attention, achieving excellence and maintaining it can be two very different things.

That is why the latest figures from this year’s Arab Youth Survey make such compelling reading. Amid a string of interesting findings about geopolitical changes as well as regional and international conflicts, there was the news that the UAE had been once again been named as the country that most young Arabs would like to live in. This is the 12th consecutive year that the Emirates has been singled out by thousands of young people across the region.

When broken down, the survey results – based on face-to-face interviews with 3,600 young people aged between 18 and 24 across 18 different countries – rooted the UAE’s desirability in the safety, security and opportunity it offers in a turbulent region. Other factors, such as the UAE’s growing economy and ease of doing business were given, but the reality of the Emirates as a stable and secure environment led the way on 41 per cent.

This stability is the foundation for creating the kind of environment that is open, tolerant, rewards hard work and provides opportunities for citizens and residents alike. This is no mean feat. Decades of planning, hard work and adaptability have been necessary for such a society to come about. That young people across the region have recognised this for 12 years in a row is testament to the promise of prosperity that the UAE offers.

The consistency found in this section of the Arab Youth Survey was not mirrored elsewhere. Although the US was named the second-most desirable country in which to live and work seven times in the past 10 years, a majority of respondents this year – 61 per cent – said they “strongly or somewhat support” American disengagement from Middle Eastern affairs.

In addition, sixty-six per cent of respondents said they expected the US to be a stronger ally than Russia over the next five years, and 62 per cent said the US would be a stronger ally than China. This points to mixed feelings among the region’s youth towards the US. They are enamoured of the opportunities offered by a life in America but unhappy with its role in their neighbourhood.

What the survey reveals is that thousands of ambitious young people across the region seek a place where their talent and hard work will be recognised and rewarded. That the UAE continues to be such a place is a vindication of its policy decisions and flexibility in welcoming large numbers of residents into its work force. Reaching that top spot is an achievement – staying there, even more so.

Published: June 21, 2023, 3:00 AM