Switzerland tops the overall ranking in The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010, released today by the World Economic Forum ahead of its Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2009 in Dalian, the north-east port city of China. The US falls one place to second position, with weakening in its financial markets and macroeconomic stability. Singapore, Sweden and Denmark round out the top five. European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following suit. Ireland slipped to a 25th ranking behind Malaysia.
The report says the UK, while remaining very competitive, has continued its fall from last year, moving down one more place this year to 13th, mainly attributable to continuing weakening of its financial markets. China continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by one place this year, solidifying its position among the top 30. Among the three other large BRIC economies, Brazil and India also improve, while Russia falls by 12 places. Several Asian economies perform strongly with Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, in the top 20. In Latin America, Chile is the highest ranked country, followed by Costa Rica and Brazil.
A number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are in the upper half of the rankings, led by Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Tunisia, with particular improvements noted in the Gulf States, which continue their upward trend of recent years. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana feature in the top half of the rankings, with a number of other countries from the region measurably improving their competitiveness.
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The Competitiveness Survey Group, Department of Economics, University College Cork provided data on Ireland.
The highest deficiencies are : Inefficient government bureaucracy; access to financing and policy instability.
"The strong interdependence among the world’s economies makes this a truly global economic crisis in every sense. Policy-makers are presently struggling with ways of managing these new economic challenges, while preparing their economies to perform well in a future economic landscape characterized by growing uncertainty. In a difficult global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put into place strong fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development,”said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University and co-author of the report added, “Amid the present crisis, it is critical that policy-makers not lose sight of long-term competitiveness fundamentals amid short-term urgencies. Competitive economies are those that have in place factors driving the productivity enhancements on which their present and future prosperity is built. A competitiveness-supporting economic environment can help national economies to weather business cycle downturns and ensure that the mechanisms enabling solid economic performance going into the future are in place.”
The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the report. This year, over 13,000 business leaders were polled in 133 economies. The survey is designed to capture a broad range of factors affecting an economy’s business climate. The report also includes comprehensive listings of the main strengths and weaknesses of countries, making it possible to identify key priorities for policy reform.
The Global Competitiveness Report’s competitiveness ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), developed for the World Economic Forum by Sala-i-Martin and introduced in 2004. The GCI is based on 12 pillars of competitiveness, providing a comprehensive picture of the competitiveness landscape in countries around the world at all stages of development. The pillars include Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic Stability, Health and Primary Education, Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labour Market Efficiency, Financial Market Sophistication, Technological Readiness, Market Size, Business Sophistication, and Innovation.
The report contains a detailed profile for each of the 133 economies featured in the study, providing a comprehensive summary of the overall position in the rankings as well as the most prominent competitive advantages and disadvantages of each country/economy based on the analysis used in computing the rankings. Also included is an extensive section of data tables with global rankings for over 110 indicators.