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For the sixth year in a row, the UAE has topped the chart as the country in which most Arab youth would like to live. The Arab Youth Survey 2017 confirmed that the UAE is the preferred nation among 35% of Arab youth –one in three people – which is an 11% increase on the 2016 result. 36% of Arab youth also stated that they would like their own countries to emulate the UAE, and the UAE was found to be twice as popular as the US among Arab youth.
Those of us that call this great nation home are well aware of what a pleasure and privilege it is to live in the UAE, but how and why has it become the country of choice for Arab youth in the Middle East? The survey generated interesting results that can answer these questions, showing that Arab youth most associate the UAE with the phrases “safe and secure,” “has a growing economy,” and “wide range of work opportunities.”
The fact that Arab youth consider unemployment and extremism to be the greatest risks facing the Middle East and want their countries to do more for them are also indications as to why the UAE has become such a popular destination.
The culture we enjoy in the UAE is not only tolerant, safe and multicultural, but also driven by the vision of a forward-thinking government that puts the needs of its people first. This is underpinned by real initiatives that inspire confidence in Arab youth and make individuals feel involved in the nation’s progress, including The UAE Vision 2021, which aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world; Smart Government, which is focused on improving services to the public and UAE National Brainstorming, the largest ever national brainstorming session to be launched on Twitter.
In Dubai alone, we have the Dubai Plan 2021, the Happiness Agenda and the new Dubai 10X initiative– all of which have been designed to stimulate innovation and enhance happiness across the board. All of this activity has fostered a modern, supportive and aspirational culture that appeals highly to Arab youth.
To match its progressive culture, the UAE has also done an incredible job of diversifying its economy, which has created a huge variety of jobs across all sectors. Opportunities abound, whether Arab youth want to work in tourism, real estate, retail, banking and finance, or even entertainment. We have the second largest economy in the Middle East, but in comparison to Saudi Arabia, which tops the list, the UAE has the most diversified economy in the GCC and as a result can offer Arab youth a wider range of working opportunities.
On top of the culture and careers, in my opinion, the UAE lifestyle is second to none in the Middle East. Its leisure, entertainment and hospitality offerings are unrivalled and Arab youth are naturally attracted to this environment. While the working week is a fast-paced and exciting challenge, the weekend feels like a holiday, with a calendar that is filled with events and activities ranging from concerts and exhibitions to sporting events and conferences.
The UAE offers a high quality of life at home, but it is also a springboard to the world as it offers excellent aviation accessibility, and is conveniently situated between Europe, Africa and Asia. Dubai alone is connected to 150 locations worldwide, and that’s just with Emirates Airlines, meaning that the UAE is perfectly positioned to satisfy Arab youth’s growing taste for adventure and wanderlust.
While the lifestyle and work opportunities are key factors, above all, Arab youth want to live in a place that not only has a vision of the future but is actively shaping it. I can’t think of anywhere else on earth that answers this desire more than the UAE.