UAE has freest Arab world economy :: KT
The annual economic freedom report produced by the Cato Institute, a US think tank that promotes liberal economic policies, ranked the UAE 16th and Kuwait and Oman 18th out of 123 countries.
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"It's fair to say that in general the Arab countries are weak on a whole range of issues, from trade policy to regulation of business and labour," said Ian Vasquez, director of the Project on Global Economic Liberty at the Cato Institute. "There's too much bureaucratic regulation, and the integrity of the rule of law is not so strong." Vasquez cited Jordan as a country that has successfully reformed parts of its economy. Thanks to the recent stability of inflation rates and looser restrictions in international trade, Jordan climbed from 45th in 2003 to 36th this year.
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The survey found that countries in the top fifth of the freedom rankings grew at 2.4 per cent in 2002 compared to the countries in the bottom fifth — including Syria and Algeria — which actually saw their economies shrink by 0.5 percent in the same year. The report also suggested that countries with more economic freedom have substantially higher per capita incomes. Countries in the top fifth of the freedom rankings had a per capita income of $26,106 while countries in the bottom fifth of the rankings had a per capita income of $2,828.
"Many economists have long argued that economic growth and poverty reduction require an economic policy that encourages economic freedom," said John B. Taylor, an undersecretary for International Affairs at the US Treasury. "This report provides plenty of empirical evidence of that."