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UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar emerge as soft power leaders

Sustainable urban planning and energy-efficient buildings reduce carbon footprint.
  • The surge of three GCC nations in the Global Soft Power Index, with UAE leading with a perfect economy score, highlights their global influence and reputation enhancements.
  • Nation branding, diplomacy, and global events bolster GCC's global standing, emphasizing their commitment to dialogue, innovation, and fostering cooperative global ties.

DUBAI — Three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries –the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – have positioned themselves as frontrunners in the arena of global soft power, according to the latest Global Soft Power Index from Brand Finance.

With remarkable progress since the index was first introduced in 2020, the bloc has shown impressive advancements, with the UAE leaping eight ranks to now sit at the 10th position, Saudi Arabia climbing eight ranks to the 18th spot, and Qatar jumping ten ranks to secure the 21st position.

The development has been attributed to their extensive engagement in nation-branding endeavors, diplomatic efforts, and the hosting of significant global events.

These initiatives have not only captured the world’s attention but have significantly boosted the region’s influence and reputation on the international stage, the report pointed out.

“Particularly striking is the UAE’s achievement, scoring a perfect 10/10 on the ‘strong and stable economy’ attribute, ranking it first globally in this category for the current year,” it added.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, praised the GCC nations for their dedication to fostering dialogue, innovation, and peace-building, which he said are crucial for bringing the world closer together.

According to Haigh, the ascension of these countries in the soft power rankings indicates a shift towards more collaborative and welcoming international relations.

Qatar’s recent mediation efforts boost its global standing, earning widespread international recognition.

While the United States and the United Kingdom continue to hold the top spots in the index, China’s advancement to third place, overtaking giants such as Japan and Germany, marks another significant shift. This progression underscores China’s concentrated efforts in enhancing its business, trade, and educational ties globally.

The index also sheds light on the soft power struggles faced by nations like Russia and Ukraine, primarily due to their involvement in military conflicts. Despite these challenges, Ukraine’s resilience shines through, maintaining a higher position than ever before amidst adversity, the report pointed out.

The correlation between economic stability and soft power influence has been highlighted in the report, with countries boasting stable and strong economies tending to wield greater international influence and maintain a more favorable reputation.

The advancements made by the GCC nations paint a vivid picture of their successful journey towards changing global perceptions and strengthening connections in an ever-changing world landscape, the report concluded.