Qatar has ranked as the top financial center in the Middle East in latest Global Financial Centers Index, GFCI 14, which was published Monday by the London-based Z/Yen Group. The index, which covers 80 financial centres, saw Qatar's rating rise by 11 points, mainly driven by the economy's strong growth prospects, improving infrastructure, international connectivity, low employee taxation and commitment to human development. As a result, Qatar moved up the overall ranking by six places from 30th to 24th to achieve the top position in the region, a press release by Qatar Financial Center Authority said today. "In the Middle East, Qatar, Bahrain and Istanbul see significant increases in their rankings whilst other centers fall slightly. Elsewhere, South America now joins Asia chasing London's and New York’s supremacy," Z/Yen Group Executive Chairman Prof. Michael Mainelli was quoted as saying. For his part, QFC Authority CEO and Board Member Shashank Srivastava expressed his pleasure at the announcement, which "reflects how well the economy is performing, the attractiveness of the business environment and the world class standard of regulation" in Qatar. "It is also testament to the government's commitment to employee development and training, continuing improvements to infrastructure, growing international connectivity and low taxation. The GFC Index, which is published twice a year, is a highly relevant and recognized indicator reflecting the views and opinions of executives from all over the world. The latest index demonstrates how Qatar continues to strengthen its standing as a prominent financial centre. "These excellent results, together with recent confirmation of Qatar's global ranking of 13th in the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14, the highest ranking of any state in the GCC, reinforces my belief that the Qatar Financial Centre offers financial services firms a uniquely attractive platform from which to grow their business both in Qatar and the broader GCC region." GFCI 14 uses 25,749 financial centre assessments completed by 2,786 financial services professionals. It is updated regularly and ratings change as assessments and instrumental factors change.