UAE makes up the top five with Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan

The UAE has become the world’s fifth richest country per capita measured by the value of its built environment according to the latest Global Built Asset Wealth Index published by Arcadis, a design & consultancy firm for natural and built assets. The UAE makes up the top five behind Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, with built assets of $140,500 (Dh516,000) for every citizen.

The index, which was compiled for Arcadis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), calculates the value of all the buildings and infrastructure that contribute to economic productivity in 32 countries, which collectively make up 87 per cent of global GDP. “The health and wealth of a nation can be measured in many different ways and while factors such as GDP or employment have great value, a prosperous society is underpinned by a well-developed built environment that meets the needs of its people and economy,” said Alan Richell, head of business advisory in the Middle East at Arcadis.

“To date, Dubai alone has built 190 skyscrapers since the millennium and is developing its economic diversification plans even further in sectors such as tourism, financial services and education.” Qatar and Singapore stand comfortably ahead of the pack on built assets per capita, at $198,000 and $192,000 respectively. The countries near the top of this ranking are disproportionately made up of smaller nations, either by population or area, so the density of the built asset stock is much greater per resident.

Saudi Arabia, by comparison, has a smaller built asset stock per capita where its built asset wealth is spread among st its large and growing population.

The top Middle East nations per capita in the Arcadis Global Built Asset Wealth Index are:

Rank Country 2015 built asset wealth per capita ($)
1 Qatar 198,000
2 UAE 143,000
3 Saudi Arabia 107,000

Total built asset wealth globally now stands at an estimated $218 trillion, which is the equivalent to $30,700 per person alive today. The stock of built assets is closely correlated with a nation’s economic output.

On average, countries analysed have a built asset stock worth 2.9 times GDP. China now has a built asset wealth of $47.6 trillion, overtaking the USA which comes in second place with a wealth of $36.8 trillion. On a regional basis, Saudi Arabia has a built asset wealth of $3.15 trillion, while the UAE and Qatar rank respectively at $1.33 trillion and $0.45 trillion.

“The Global Built Asset Wealth Index shows a dramatic shift of wealth to emerging economies, and the UAE will continue to climb due to its especially high rates of investment,” said Richell.

The top Middle East nations in the Arcadis Global Built Asset Wealth Index are:

Rank  Country 2015 built asset wealth ($ trillion) 2025 Forecast 2025 ranking Change (2015-2025)
1 Saudi Arabia 3.15 6.80 12 +5
2 UAE 1.33 2.44 21 +4
3 Qatar 0.45 1.00 31 0

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