15 Feb 2019
The DHL Global Connectedness Index has ranked the UAE as 5th most connected country globally. Climbing five places, the UAE is now at the highest rank ever achieved by a Middle Eastern or North African country – the Khaleej Times reports.
"The UAE has proactively supported connectedness by, for example, fostering vibrant activity in free trade zones such as the Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone that focus on non-oil products as part of the government's economic diversification strategy," DHL said in a statement.
Shailesh Dash, chairman of Gulf Pinnacle Logistics, said: "The UAE by far has come a long way and it has positioned itself as a major transhipment hub handling sizable oil and non-oil cargo thus contributing to global growth. The quality infrastructure and ever improving regulations makes routing shipments through the UAE seamless.”
"Given the UAE's strategic location - one-third of the global population being reachable within a four-hour flight and two-thirds of the global population being reachable within an eight-hour flight - provided an opportunity which is being rightly harvested."
Atik Munshi, senior partner at Crowe, described the UAE as a multicultural, cosmopolitan and inclusive country – while being home to a large number of expatriates.
"A significant part of the population is made of expatriates and UAE's connectivity is one of key which holds them together in this place. Non-oil trade, contribution by the UAE free zones, rise of the knowledge economy in the forms of two major financial centres [the Dubai International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Market] have all been catalyst to catapult UAE in the top five position globally on the connectivity index. It will not be surprising if UAE occupies the top three positions in a few years' time," Munshi said.
The DHL report revealed that Bahrain, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles and Lebanon all formed part of the Index’s Top 50.
Nour Suliman, CEO for the Middle East and North Africa at DHL Express, said: "While oil exports continue to underpin the Emirates' connectedness to the global economy, the establishment of free trade zones like the ADAFZ has attracted businesses worldwide, serving as a strategic hub and gateway to Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the wider region.
"Increased trade from companies based in these zones have directly contributed to the rise in the UAE's non-oil foreign trade in sectors like aviation, pharmaceuticals, technology and e-commerce, accounting for 62 per cent of total trade. Over the past few years, deals with key partners like Saudi Arabia have reached $10 billion, while UAE-India trade partnerships are expected to cross $100 billion by 2020.
"The region continues to face geopolitical headwinds as well as issues around quality and reliability of infrastructure, but things are changing thanks to new policies and investments from government and industry alike. DHL Express recently opened a $5.8 million logistics facility in Jordan as part of the company's commitment to invest $170 million in infrastructure developments across Middle East and Africa as we continue to drive greater regional and global connectedness with innovative, high-quality end-to-end logistics services," Suliman concluded.
The DHL report also pointed out how the world is less connected than most people realise.
"For example, just about 20 per cent of economic output around the world is exported, roughly seven per cent of phone call minutes (including calls over the internet) are international, and only three per cent of people live outside the countries where they were born. The report also debunks the belief that distance is becoming irrelevant. Most countries are much more connected to their neighbors than to distant nations," the report said.