Qatar scores highest of the Arab states on a global index compiled by the IFC, World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
Qatar has the healthiest entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Arab world, according to the new Arab Competitiveness Report 2018 compiled by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Economic Forum, and the World Bank; which goes into the details of business environment and challenges faced by corporates as well as startups in 137 countries around the world, including all 22 state members of the Arab League.
The UAE, Oman, and Kuwait have all followed Qatar respectively scoring 53, 47, and 43 percent. As Qatar has scored 55 percent, the authors of the report state that the world's wealthiest peninsula outperforms in high growth and opportunity startup.
This comes in spite of the blockade imposed by Qatar's neighbours. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed an air, sea, and land blockade on Qatar while cutting off diplomatic relations with the city-state, accusing it of supporting and funding terrorism, and manipulating internal affairs of its neighbouring states. As a result, according to a report the International Monetary Fund released in March, foreign financing and resident private sector deposits had fallen by $40 billion.
The Global Entrepreneurship Index praised the Gulf states for their efforts in supporting innovation and providing seed funding to startups. The report also stated that Saudi Arabia, which came in sixth, scoring 40 percent, has created $1 billion fund for SMEs, while Bahrain and Oman have launched $100 million and $200 million startup funds respectively.
“There has been some movement in this space. But all of this clearly is not enough if not coupled with serious macro-economic changes or macro-economic policies that would support more private sector involvement, more trade-friendly regulations,” concludes Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC director for the MENA region.
Read more about what happened to Qatari startups after the blockade.
Main image courtesy of #MO4Productions.
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