Bulgaria has climbed to 62nd place in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competiveness Report, up from 74th place, beating Slovakia, Romania and Greece – and is no longer in last place in the European Union.
The World Economic Forum released on September 5 2012 its latest report on the competitiveness of the economies of 144 countries.
Of the 12 indicators by which the report defines competitiveness, Bulgaria performs best under macro-economic stability, jumping five places from last year to 31st place this year.
Labour efficiency, health and compulsory education scores are good. But lesser scores were turned in for innovation and business development, market efficiency and the financial sector.
Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.Singaporeremains in second position andFinlandin third position, overtaking Sweden(fourth).
These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands(fifth), Germany(sixth) and United Kingdom (eighth). The United States (seventh), Hong Kong (ninth) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies.
The large emerging market economies (BRICS) display 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.
Despite growing its overall competitiveness score, the US continues its decline for the fourth year in a row, falling two more places to seventh position. In addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the US’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 the Middle East and North Africa,Qatar(11th) leads the region whileSaudi Arabia remains among the top 20 (18th). The United Arab Emirates (24th) improves its performance while Kuwait(37th) slightly declines. Morocco (70th) and Jordan (63rd) improve slightly. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th) feature in the top half of the rankings. However, most countries in the region continue to require efforts across the board to improve their competitiveness.
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 jeopardising our future prosperity.” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the 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 at Columbia University in the US, 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 optimise the productivity that will determine their economic future.”
(Photo: Jenny W)