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The global economic crisis has further widened the competitiveness gap between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the rest of the Arab world region, according to the Arab World Competitiveness Review 2010.
The review sees Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait outperforming other economies at a similar level of development in terms of competitiveness. In the overall ranking of 139 economies, they place 17th, 21st and 35th.
The United Arab Emirates is the only economy from the region that has reached the most advanced innovation-driven stage of development because of its diversified structure. It is placed 23rd within this group and 25th overall. The review found that the Arab world's competitive strengths lie in transparent institutions, macroeconomic stability and business sophistication.
The review authors said that countries will need to accelerate efforts in raising the efficiency of their labour markets, furthering the development of financial markets, and reforming education. GCC countries have reached OECD levels on a number of categories of the index, such as institutions and infrastructure.
North Africa outperforms the Levant region in terms of infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, market size and innovation. The Levant region outperforms North Africa in terms of education, efficiency of goods, labour and financial markets, and business sophistication.