Switzerland was awarded first place, followed by Finland, the United States of America, and Singapore, respectively. The UAE placed 18 out of 136 countries. Chad was in last place, Angola ranked 135th, and Mali 134th.
The 2019 Global Knowledge Index measures countries across a range of different sectors. These include pre-university education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education, research development and innovation, information and communications technology, and the economy.
The index aims to create a more scientific and evidence-based link between development and a knowledge based economy.
Dr Hany Torky, the Knowledge Project Director at the UNDP said "The UAE depends on high-skilled labour and high skills for students. The country has... improved the level of its education system. All of these factors led the UAE to [rise to] the 18th rank in this report."
The UAE retained second place in the 'Economy' category. Singapore was ranked first, Hong Kong was third, and Luxembourg was fourth. The UAE was ranked 12th in pre-university education; 13th in technical and vocational educational and training; and 15th in information and communications technology. In research, development and innovation, the country placed 33rd.
"This year, the difference between Singapore and the UAE [in terms of the economy] was less than the gap last year," said Dr Torky. "After two years, maybe, we'll find the UAE in the first rank in economy. We hope all Arab countries see and learn from the UAE to achieve a good rank in the Global Knowledge Index and other international indicators."
In common with all oil producing countries, however, the UAE continues to receive a low ranking in the environment category, placing 133rd out of 136 countries. It also came 132nd in the total CO2 emissions per capita section under the environment category.
Saudi Arabia was ranked 132nd out of 136 countries in the environment category and 130th in the total carbon emissions per capita section. Kuwait was 134th, while Oman was 131st. However, it is not only the Middle Eastern countries that are at the bottom of the table in this regard: China is in 118th position for the environment and the US was ranked 127th.