The three major Arab countries contribute significantly to the global economy and offer a wide range of opportunities for trade, investment and innovation

Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain: the happiest Arab states during the pandemic

photo_camera AFP/AMER HILABI - People stroll along the waterfront promenade in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 21 June.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain emerged as the happiest Arab countries from 2020 to 2022, according to the World Happiness Report. The UAE ranked 27th in the happiness index out of 156 countries, while Saudi Arabia and Bahrain ranked 32nd and 33rd, respectively.  

The report also noted that the well-being of these countries is due to improved access to basic services and economic development. In addition, the report noted that Arab countries experienced a growth in their happiness index since last year. While Lebanon has suffered a deep economic and political crisis in recent years, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has seriously affected its situation. The latest World Happiness Survey, published recently, has ranked Lebanon as the unhappiest Arab state and second to last out of 137 countries assessed. 

The report, entitled 'Global Happiness, Trust and Social Connections in Times of Crisis', surveyed citizens around the world during the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results showed that the Lebanese experienced a significant decline in their level of happiness, due to the negative effects of the pandemic on the country's economy. The crisis was also associated with a decrease in confidence, social connectedness and life satisfaction. Respondents reported that social relationships became more difficult during the pandemic.  

In addition, the report identified a relationship between happiness and trust. People who trusted others were more likely to experience positive emotions and less likely to experience negative emotions. The report also found that social connections were an important source of happiness. People with a strong network of friends and family and social support were more likely to report a sense of well-being. Overall, the report concluded that the COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on global happiness.


The data indicate a clear trend of Arab leadership, both in terms of volume of resources and influence in the Gulf region. These figures also highlight the high level of economic and technological development of Arab countries, and their important role as leaders in the global economy. 

The bottom half of the ranking included 10 Arab countries, ranging from Algeria (81) to Lebanon (136), with Afghanistan (137) at the bottom of the list. These countries were Algeria (81), Iraq (98), Palestine (99), Morocco (100), Mauritania (103), Tunisia (110), Egypt (121), Jordan (123), Comoros (130) and Lebanon (136). 

The World Happiness Report 2022 highlighted a significant increase in the number of benevolent acts since the start of the pandemic. This is due, in part, to the increased availability of resources to help those in need, as well as a higher level of social awareness and solidarity among human beings. In addition, many countries have implemented public assistance programmes to help people who cannot afford basic goods and services.  

This has contributed to improving the living conditions of many people around the world, which in turn has contributed to greater overall happiness. Data collected by the study show that greater public trust in government, leaders and science led to more successful pandemic responses around the world. The benefits of high trust were found to be especially great for those in conditions of adversity.  

In addition, life evaluation measured high levels during the pandemic, similar to previous years. This suggests that greater public trust was key to maintaining high levels of life satisfaction even in times of crisis.

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