The UAE must do more to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in order to drive its next phase of growth, according to Jennifer Blanke, chief economist at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and head of the team behind the Global Competitiveness Report.

“It is too attractive to work for the government. There is nothing wrong with having good people in the government, but it needs to be as attractive to start up your own business,” Blanke said, speaking at the UAE Government Summit in Dubai.

In the 2007 WEF Global Competitiveness Index, the UAE was ranked 37 in the world, behind Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Its ranking in the 2013 index was 24. “A lot has been done in the UAE and it is a remarkable achievement,” Blanke said. “Work around making it easier to start a business and building new infrastructure is really significant.”

She added that an increased focus on education, more investment in research and encouraging innovation was needed. “That is the next big step for the UAE economy,” she said.