UAE goes higher in global 'soft power' rankings as its COVID-19 handling delivers big – Gulf News

US is back at the top in Brand Finance’s latest rankings
Dubai: The UAE’s response to the COVID-19 crisis – both internally and to external audience – has lifted the country’s ‘soft power’ status to 15th globally from the 17th spot a year ago in the latest rankings issued by the consultancy Brand Finance.
These and the constant spotlight generated by the Expo 2020 consolidated the UAE’s hold in the Middle East, with Israel and Saudi Arabia ranked 23rd and 24th in the world on soft power.
The US regained its position as the world’s biggest soft power, as it managed to get a grip on COVID-19. Last year’s top ranked Germany slipped to third, behind the US and the UK. (A London-based consultancy, Brand Finance also brings out annual rankings on the world’s biggest corporate brands.)
Domestically, the UAE took on the pandemic challenge, with these efforts paying off in capping the spread at various points, while being one of the first to re-open the economy to limit the damage cause by the coronavirus.
On the external front, the sending off vaccines and protective equipment to other countries – with Emirates airline playing a pivotal role – was another boost to the UAE’s soft power. (This power relates to the influence nations and governments wield based on multiple factors other than the strictly economic or military status.)
“A key metric where the UAE ranks within the (global) Top 10 is ‘influence’,” according to the Brand Finance report. “The signing and implementation of the Abraham Accords (with Israel) is likely to be the key reason behind the nation’s improvement here as well as in the ‘international relations’ pillar, where it claims 11th spot. The UAE has moved up on the ‘good relations with other countries’ statement to 23rd and on ‘helpful to countries in need’ it.”
Away from the COVID-19 management, the UAE’s biggest gains last year was in creating the ground conditions for genuine talent to emerge. Brand Finance’s report notes: “The UAE’s fastest improvement this year has been recorded in the education and science pillar. Its focus on high-tech economy and specialised education as well as the bold venture into space exploration with the Emirates Mars Mission have no doubt influenced perceptions of the UAE’s capabilities in this field.”
Plus, there is the casting of the net far and wide to get global talent consider the UAE as the place to live and work. Some of the most far-reaching reforms were brought in on the residency visa requirements, while the launch of ‘Nafis’ project targets heavier participation by UAE Nationals in the private sector.
“Aligning the working week with the majority of the world to Monday-Friday is likely to solidify positive perceptions of the UAE as a business-friendly nation in the next ‘Global Soft Power Index’ survey,” the report adds. (The announcement by the UAE that it would introduce a 9 per cent corporate tax from next year is a new factor that will be influential.)

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