The UAE has ranked in 49th place overall in the World Bank's newest index which ranks 157 countries based on the productivity of the next generation's workers. In the Middle East only Bahrain placed higher, in 47th.
Note: Full table below.
The bank's Human Capital Index, was released on Oct 11th and is based on health, education and survivability measures. It assesses the future productivity and earnings potential for citizens of the World Bank's member nations, and ultimately those countries' potential economic growth.
According to the report, a child in the UAE who starts school at age four can expect to complete 13.1 years of school by his or her 18th birthday. The report notes, however, that in terms of Learning Adjusted Years, the UAE achieves 9.5 years versus 12.5 years in Singapore.
In Singapore, the earnings potential is estimated to be 88 percent of potential, while in the United States, ranked 24th, productivity and earnings were measured at 76 per cent of potential. The earnings potential in the UAE is estimated to be 66%.
The top five nations were Singapore, followed by South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.
From the Arabic speaking world, Saudi Arabia came 73rd, Kuwait 77th, Oman 54th and Egypt, 104th.
In Asia, China was placed 46th, Malaysia 55th spot and Thailand 65th.
In Europe, Finland came top in 5th place overall, closely followed by Ireland in 6th, Sweden in 8th, and the Netherlands in 9th. Germany came 11th, the UK 15th and France 22nd.
Africa in general fared poorly. Chad, South Sudan and Niger took the lowest three spots. Yemen fell just above the bottom 10, in 145th place.
The new system of ranking countries is an effort to pressure governments to invest more in education and healthcare in the same way the World Bank's "Doing Business" survey, encourages low-tax, and low-regulation.
The index argues that a country ranked at 50 per cent will lose 1.4 percentage points of annual GDP growth compared to its potential under ideal health and education conditions.