The UAE’s Road to the Top

  • 22 June 2013

The UAE gives significant attention to development, especially in infrastructure projects. The country realizes the importance of those projects as the foundation for progress and sustainable economic development. In an EC Harris survey in March, the UAE was ranked fourth globally in terms of the size of spending on vital projects. The UAE was also ranked first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region on the transport infrastructure index in a recent report released by the Global Economic Forum, entitled Global Enabling Trade Report 2012.

The UAE’s regional supremacy has helped the country advance its global ranking, which is reflected in different infrastructure indices. The UAE was ranked fourth globally in terms of the quality of air transport infrastructure as it owns eight developed and efficient airports. With the current investment amounting to nearly AED100 billion, these airports would be able to accommodate more than 250 million passengers annually by 2020. All the national carriers in the UAE feature among the best 50 airlines around the world in terms of passenger traffic, international shipping and global destinations.

The UAE occupies sixth place globally in terms of quality of port infrastructure as it owns more than 20 seaports in addition to 13 ports allocated for oil export. Overall, the UAE ports account for 61 percent of shipping traffic in the Gulf. Among its ports, Port Khalifa and Port Jabal Ali are among the largest and most advanced globally in terms of size and capacity, current investments, completion of construction work and extension of operations. The value of these investments is estimated to be AED157 billion.

The UAE has a maritime transport fleet of 420 ships, making it the 21st fleet globally in terms of the number of ships, according to the UNCTAD ranking of 2012. The UAE also came seventh globally in providing high-quality roads, leaving behind some advanced countries. This ranking is due to the development and quality reached by its land transport network infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and tunnels. All these are the result of investments made by the country in the sector, which, according to Ventures Middle East estimates, exceed AED200 billion.