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MENAFN Press - 14/04/2014
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(MENAFN Press) Economic growth does not always result in social progress, according to a major new global index, the Social Progress Index, published by the nonprofit Social Progress Imperative, and released last week at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. For Middle East countries in the 2014 Social Progress Index , the UAE ranks 37th followed closely by Kuwait in the 40th position, Saudi Arabia 65th, Jordan 75th, Lebanon 83rd, Egypt 84th, Iraq 118th and Yemen 125th. Among the 132 countries rankings, the top 5 are: New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands and Norway

The Social Progress Index 2014 ranks 132 countries based on their social and environmental performance. Higher GDP per capita does bring benefits, particularly on 'Basic Human Needs' but rising incomes do not guarantee improvement on 'Ecosystem Sustainability', 'Health and Wellness' and 'Opportunity'.

The Social Progress Index, created by a team led by Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, is designed as a complement to GDP and other economic indicators to provide a more holistic understanding of countries' overall performance.

Professor Michael E. Porter said: "Until now, the assumption has been that there is a direct relationship between economic growth and wellbeing. However, the Social Progress Index finds that all economic growth is not equal. While higher GDP per capita is correlated with social progress, the connection is far from automatic. For similar levels of GDP, we find that some countries achieve much higher levels of social progress than others.

"Deloitte is collaborating globally with the Social Progress Imperative and others because we believe business has a role to play in helping address and solve the world's critical issues and the Index is a tool that can ignite collective action from business, government and society," said Omar Fahoum, chairman and chief executive of Deloitte Middle East.

The Social Progress Index does show a broad positive correlation between economic performance, (measured in GDP per capita) and social progress. Countries with higher incomes tend to enjoy greater social progress: New Zealand (25,858 *GDP per capita) ranks highest in the Index while Chad (1,870* GDP per capita) ranks lowest.

For lower income countries, economic growth will not necessarily result in significantly improved social progress. For example, on 'Personal Safety', it's only when countries reach high-income status that homicide rates, violent crime and traffic deaths seem to significantly reduce, but even then there is a wide spread of variation between these high-income nations. Until then the improvements in 'Personal Safety', between low -and middle- income countries, remains stubbornly limited.

Main findings of the Social Progress Index

1. Global finding

’New Zealand is this year's top performing country

’The Netherlands is the best performing country in European Union.

’Canada is the best performing G8 country.

’The United States finishes 16th behind Canada (7th) and the UK (13th).

’Russia ranked 80th in the Index, below the Ukraine (62nd) and Georgia (66th).

’Slovenia and Estonia are Europe's big success story, scoring better than France, Spain and Italy. Of the big EU countries Italy is a big under-performer, also coming in behind former Soviet bloc countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland

’Costa Rica and Uruguay are the star performers in Latin America

’Brazil is the top of the BRICS, followed by: South Africa, Russia, China, and India

2. Middle East finding

’The Social Progress Index ranking for the Middle East countries included in 2014 are: UAE (37th), Kuwait (40th), Saudi Arabia (65th), Jordan (75th), Lebanon (83rd), Egypt (84th), Iraq (118th) and Yemen (125th

’Excluding Yemen and Iraq, all Middle East countries outrank China in the Social Progress Inde

’United Arab Emirates (37th) and Kuwait (40th) rank ahead of the BRICS countries (Brazil (46th), South Africa (69), Russia (80th), China (90th) and India (102th)

’Kuwait is third from the top in terms of GDP among the 132 countrie

’Saudi Arabia ranks first among the 132 countries in lowest suicide rate (deaths per 100,000

’Lebanon ranks 25th in terms of life expectancy among the 132 countries and the highest rank for the Middle East in the repor

’Jordan ranks first in lowest homicide rat

’Iraq ranks 12th among the 132 countries in lowest suicide rate (in terms of deaths per 100,000

About the Social Progress Imperative
The Social Progress Imperative's mission is to improve the lives of people around the world, particularly the least well off, by advancing global social progress by: providing a robust, holistic and innovative measurement tool-the Social Progress Index (SPI); fostering research and knowledge-sharing on social progress; and equipping leaders and change-makers in business, government and civil society with new tools to guide policies and programs.Financial SupportThe Social Progress Imperative is registered as a nonprofit organization in the United States, and is grateful to the following organizations for their financial support: Cisco, Compartamos Banco, Deloitte Global, Fundacin Avina, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation. What is social progress? Social progress is defined as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens to improve their lives, and create the conditions for individuals and communities to meet their full potential. *GDP per capita definitionThe Social Progress Index uses the World Bank definition: "GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as the U.S. dollar has in the United States. GDP at purchaser's prices is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources. Data are in constant 2005 international dollars." http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD- Ends - About Deloitte:Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.Deloitte's professionals are unified by a collaborative culture that fosters integrity, outstanding value to markets and clients, commitment to each other, and strength from cultural diversity. They enjoy an environment of continuous learning, challenging experiences, and enriching career opportunities. Deloitte's professionals are dedicated to strengthening corporate responsibility, building public trust, and making a positive impact in their communities.About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.):Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence since 1926.Deloitte is among the region's leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with around 3,000 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region since 2010 (according to the International Tax Review World Tax Rankings). It has received numerous awards in the last few years which include Best Employer in the Middle East, best consulting firm, and the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).



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