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Oman’s soft power ranking down 3 places

19 Mar 2024 Oman’s soft power ranking down 3 places By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Global Soft Power Index 2024 has ranked Oman 49th, three places down from 2023.

Now in its fifth iteration, the 2024 edition examines the perceptions of all 193 member states of the United Nations for the first time. The index is based on comprehensive fieldwork, with responses gathered from over 170,000 people across more than 100 markets by UK-based Brand Finance – an independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy.

The United States is the most influential soft power nation in the world, followed by the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Germany making the top five. France is sixth, followed by Canada, Switzerland, Italy and the United Arab Emirates – ranked tenth.

In the GCC, UAE is the top ranked country, followed by Saudi Arabia (ranked 18th), Qatar (21st), Kuwait (37th), Oman (49th) and Bahrain (51st).

The index incorporates a broad range of measures including: Familiarity – nation brands which people know, and have mental availability of, have greater soft power; Reputation – is this country deemed to have a strong and positive reputation globally?; Influence – the degree to which a nation is seen to have influence in the respondent’s country as well as on the world stage; and perceptions across eight core soft power pillars – Business and Trade, Governance, International Relations, Culture and Heritage, Media and Communication, Education and Science, People and Values, and Sustainable Future.

Oman has fallen in all three measures, while it has improved in soft power pillars like Media and Communication, where it has risen from 46th in 2023 to 40th in 2024, and Sustainable Future from 53rd to 43rd this year. It has maintained its position in Business and Trade at 39th position and International Relations at 35th.

The greatest improvements in the ranking over the past five iterations of the Index have been recorded by the UAE (+13.8 points and eight ranks to tenth), Saudi Arabia (+14.1 and eight ranks to 18th), Qatar (+16.0 and ten ranks to 21st), and Türkiye (+14.3 and five ranks to 25th).

‘All four are characterised by conscious efforts to grow their Soft Power through nation branding projects, diplomatic initiatives and by hosting major events. The Gulf nations especially, are seeing enhanced Influence and Reputation as well as strengthening International Relations and Business and Trade credentials, with the UAE receiving 10/10 marks and top position globally on the key ‘strong and stable economy’ attribute this year,’ the report stated.

The UAE has successfully staged the high-profile EXPO 2020 and COP28. Qatar’s improvement follows the 2022 football world cup, which FIFA president Gianni Infantino called the best in history. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is seeing stronger perceptions following significant investments in tourism and football which have earned global media attention. During the same time, Türkiye officially changed its name and took on the role of a mediator leveraging Soft Power to facilitate diplomatic dialogue from Eastern Europe to the Middle East.

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