SA drops two places in competitiveness rankings

See the top ten most competitive countries.

Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, released on Thursday by the World Economic Forum.

Singapore remains in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th).

These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top ten with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th). The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top ten most competitive economies.

The large emerging market economies (BRICS) displayed different performances. Despite a slight decline in the rankings of three places, China (29th) continues to lead the group. Of the others, only Brazil (48th) moves up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings.

While South Africa and Mauritius (54th) feature in the top half of the rankings, most other sub-Saharan African countries continue to require improvements to their competitiveness.

In the Middle East and North Africa, Qatar (11th) lead the region while Saudi Arabia remained among the top 20 (18th). The United Arab Emirates (24th) improved its performance while Kuwait (37th) slightly declined. Morocco (70th) and Jordan (63rd) improved slightly.

Despite growing its overall competitiveness score, the United States continued its decline for the fourth year in a row, falling two more places to 7th position. In addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the country’s institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly the low public trust in politicians and a perceived lack of government efficiency.

On a more positive note, the country still remains a global innovation powerhouse and its markets work efficiently. The report indicates that Switzerland and countries in Northern Europe have been consolidating their strong competitiveness positions since the financial and economic downturn in 2008. On the other hand, countries in Southern Europe, i.e. Portugal (49th), Spain (36th), Italy (42nd) and particularly Greece (96th) continue to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labour markets and an innovation deficit.

Behind Singapore, several Asian economies are performing strongly, with Hong Kong SAR (9th), Japan (10th), Taiwan, China (13th) and the Republic of Korea (19th) all in the top 20.

In Latin America, Chile (33rd) retains the lead and a number of countries see their competitiveness improve, such as Panama (40th), Brazil (48th), Mexico (53rd) and Peru (61st).

“Persisting divides in competitiveness across regions and within regions, particularly in Europe, are at the origin of the turbulence we are experiencing today, and this is jeopardizing our future prosperity.” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “We urge governments to act decisively by adopting long-term measures to enhance competitiveness and return the world to a sustainable growth path.”

Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA, said: “The Global Competitiveness Index provides a window on the long-term trends that are shaping the competitiveness of the world’s economies. In this light, we believe it offers useful insight into the key areas where countries must act if they are to optimize the productivity that will determine their economic future.” 

The Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013 rankings:  

  GCI 2012-2013 GCI 2011-2012  
Country/Economy Rank Score Rank Change
Switzerland 1 5,72 1 0
Singapore 2 5,67 2 0
Finland 3 5,55 4 1
Sweden 4 5,53 3 -1
Netherlands 5 5,50 7 2
Germany 6 5,48 6 0
United States 7 5,47 5 -2
United Kingdom 8 5,45 10 2
Hong Kong SAR 9 5,41 11 2
Japan 10 5,40 9 -1
Qatar 11 5,38 14 3
Denmark 12 5,29 8 -4
Taiwan, China 13 5,28 13 0
Canada 14 5,27 12 -2
Norway 15 5,27 16 1
Austria 16 5,22 19 3
Belgium 17 5,21 15 -2
Saudi Arabia 18 5,19 17 -1
Korea, Rep. 19 5,12 24 5
Australia 20 5,12 20 0
France 21 5,11 18 -3
Luxembourg 22 5,09 23 1
New Zealand 23 5,09 25 2
United Arab Emirates 24 5,07 27 3
Malaysia 25 5,06 21 -4
Israel 26 5,02 22 -4
Ireland 27 4,91 29 2
Brunei Darussalam 28 4,87 28 0
China 29 4,83 26 -3
Iceland 30 4,74 30 0
Puerto Rico 31 4,67 35 4
Oman 32 4,65 32 0
Chile 33 4,65 31 -2
Estonia 34 4,64 33 -1
Bahrain 35 4,63 37 2
Spain 36 4,60 36 0
Kuwait 37 4,56 34 -3
Thailand 38 4,52 39 1
Czech Republic 39 4,51 38 -1
Panama 40 4,49 49 9
Poland 41 4,46 41 0
Italy 42 4,46 43 1
Turkey 43 4,45 59 16
Barbados 44 4,42 42 -2
Lithuania 45 4,41 44 -1
Azerbaijan 46 4,41 55 9
Malta 47 4,41 51 4
Brazil 48 4,40 53 5
Portugal 49 4,40 45 -4
Indonesia 50 4,40 46 -4
Kazakhstan 51 4,38 72 21
South Africa 52 4,37 50 -2
Mexico 53 4,36 58 5
Mauritius 54 4,35 54 0
Latvia 55 4,35 64 9
Slovenia 56 4,34 57 1
Costa Rica 57 4,34 61 4
Cyprus 58 4,32 47 -11
India 59 4,32 56 -3
Hungary 60 4,30 48 -12
Peru 61 4,28 67 6
Bulgaria 62 4,27 74 12
Rwanda 63 4,24 70 7
Jordan 64 4,23 71 7
Philippines 65 4,23 75 10
Iran, Islamic Rep. 66 4,22 62 -4
Russian Federation 67 4,20 66 -1
Sri Lanka 68 4,19 52 -16
Colombia 69 4,18 68 -1
Morocco 70 4,15 73 3
Slovak Republic 71 4,14 69 -2
Montenegro 72 4,14 60 -12
Ukraine 73 4,14 82 9
Uruguay 74 4,13 63 -11
Vietnam 75 4,11 65 -10
Seychelles 76 4,10 n/a n/a
Georgia 77 4,07 88 11
Romania 78 4,07 77 -1
Botswana 79 4,06 80 1
Macedonia, FYR 80 4,04 79 -1
Croatia 81 4,04 76 -5
Armenia 82 4,02 92 10
Guatemala 83 4,01 84 1
Trinidad and Tobago 84 4,01 81 -3
Cambodia 85 4,01 97 12
Ecuador 86 3,94 101 15
Moldova 87 3,94 93 6
Bosnia and Herzegovina 88 3,93 100 12
Albania 89 3,91 78 -11
Honduras 90 3,88 86 -4
Lebanon 91 3,88 89 -2
Namibia 92 3,88 83 -9
Mongolia 93 3,87 96 3
Argentina 94 3,87 85 -9
Serbia 95 3,87 95 0
Greece 96 3,86 90 -6
Jamaica 97 3,84 107 10
Gambia, The 98 3,83 99 1
Gabon 99 3,82 n/a n/a
Tajikistan 100 3,80 105 5
El Salvador 101 3,80 91 -10
Zambia 102 3,80 113 11
Ghana 103 3,79 114 11
Bolivia 104 3,78 103 -1
Dominican Republic 105 3,77 110 5
Kenya 106 3,75 102 -4
Egypt 107 3,73 94 -13
Nicaragua 108 3,73 115 7
Guyana 109 3,73 109 0
Algeria 110 3,72 87 -23
Liberia 111 3,71 n/a n/a
Cameroon 112 3,69 116 4
Libya 113 3,68 n/a n/a
Suriname 114 3,68 112 -2
Nigeria 115 3,67 127 12
Paraguay 116 3,67 122 6
Senegal 117 3,66 111 -6
Bangladesh 118 3,65 108 -10
Benin 119 3,61 104 -15
Tanzania 120 3,60 120 0
Ethiopia 121 3,56 106 -15
Cape Verde 122 3,55 119 -3
Uganda 123 3,53 121 -2
Pakistan 124 3,52 118 -6
Nepal 125 3,49 125 0
Venezuela 126 3,46 124 -2
Kyrgyz Republic 127 3,44 126 -1
Mali 128 3,43 128 0
Malawi 129 3,38 117 -12
Madagascar 130 3,38 130 0
Côte d’Ivoire 131 3,36 129 -2
Zimbabwe 132 3,34 132 0
Burkina Faso 133 3,34 136 3
Mauritania 134 3,32 137 3
Swaziland 135 3,28 134 -1
Timor-Leste 136 3,27 131 -5
Lesotho 137 3,19 135 -2
Mozambique 138 3,17 133 -5
Chad 139 3,05 142 3
Yemen 140 2,97 138 -2
Guinea 141 2,90 n/a n/a
Haiti 142 2,90 141 -1
Sierra Leone 143 2,82 n/a n/a
Burundi 144 2,78 140 -4


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