Gulf Cooperation Council states have topped the Arab
world in the latest index that rates economic freedom.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates topped the Arab world in the
Economic Freedom Index. The annual 161-nation index has been issued annually
the Washington-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal and
seeks to monitor progress by developing states in transparency and other
standards of economic freedom. The index is regarded as useful to foreign
Abu Dhabi and Manama Ñ once regarded as among the most controlled
economies in the developing world -- were listed as the top two of 25
nations regarding economic freedom. Bahrain was ranked 16th in economic
freedom and the UAE was cited as No. 24.
Neither GCC country was deemed as having total economic freedom. Bahrain
received a 2 and the UAE a 2.2 rating, classifying them as countries with
semi-total economic freedom at the end of 2002. The UAE, criticized for
failing to opening up certain sectors to foreign investment, slipped from
its 2001 rating of 2.15. A rating of 1 to 1.95 means that a country has a
totally free economic policy.
Kuwait was rated No. 40 and deemed a country with semi-economic freedom.
was ranked No. 56, followed by Saudi Arabia.
Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritania, Syria and Yemen were
ranked as states with poor economic freedom. Iraq, Libya and Sudan were
as not having any economic freedom.