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Gulf Nations Listed Among the 40 Most Competitive Economies Around the Globe

Middle East : 10 September 2010

All six states in the Gulf region are listed among the top 40 in a report issued Thursday with Qatar sitting highest in the Mideast at 17th place.  The Global Competitiveness Report for 2010 – 2011 was issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Saudi Arabia landed at 21st place and the UAE took 25th based on the report’s findings.

WEF added in a statement that all of the Gulf nations are included in the top 40 report and most are continuing their upward motion of the last few years.

United States Slips

Switzerland took first place again in the rankings, the second year the nation did so.  The U.S. dropped two spots down to fourth place while Sweden climbed up to second and Singapore reached third place.

The statement noted that besides the growing macro-economic imbalances in that country, both the public and private industries in the United States are become weaker in places and there are still concerns over the health of the financial markets there.

Nordic nations are doing well in the rankings, with Sweden near the top, Finland landing at 7th, Denmark at 9th and Norway coming in at 14th, just missing the top ten.

Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF, stated that the struggle for policy makers is to find a way to manage the current challenges in their economies, but still prepare the country’s economy for the future, allowing it to excel in a financial world of uncertainty where the balance is regularly shifting.

In this global economic climate, Schwab noted the importance of nations putting fundamentals into place to underpin growth and development in the economy, now more than ever.

The Secretary-General of Dubai’s Economic Council, Hani Al Hameli, noted that being awarded this high rank in a report on global competitiveness is not the end they were reaching for, but rather a marker of the region’s performance and of the growth that various economic sectors are experiencing.  It is now necessary to promote policies that bolster more stability and confidence in the economy and the local markets.

The UAE’s government is involved in upgrades to both the trade policies and those that affect the economy.  Currently the government has 12 laws under revision to increase efficiency.

The Director General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hamad Bu Amim, noted that the work of the UAE’s government, who are focusing on business reforms, has brought significant improvements to the nation’s level of competitiveness.  This focus has laid a foundation for business growth, the creation of jobs and encourages a growth in private sector investments.

As the Secretary General of the Emirates Competitiveness Council, Abdullah Lootah noted that the nation’s high ranking is confirmation that the interdependence and coordinating work done within the economic sectors has helped foster a globally competitive climate.

China rose in the ranks, climbing up two positions to land at 27th place.  India was 51st and Russia landed at 63rd.  Other Asian nations had strong showings within the top 20, including Japan at 6th and Hong Kong landing at 11th.

Columbia University’s Professor of Economics, Xavier Sala-i-Martin said that despite the concerns over the world’s economies, those who make policies should keep the goal of long-term competitiveness in their immediate sights, even over challenging short term issues.  The professor noted that economic planning that centers on competitiveness will ride the downturns in business better and put in place the mechanisms necessary for a solid economy moving forward.

Criteria for Assessment

Rankings are calculated by looking at the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which examines 12 factors of competitiveness in the 139 nations surveyed.  These factors include:  Institutions, infrastructure, the macro-economic climate, health and education, higher levels of education and training, efficiency of the goods market, efficiency of the labor market, development of the financial market, advancements in technology, size of markets, sophistication in businesses and innovation.

Al Hameli noted that when looking at the level of competitiveness in a nation it is important to factor in the education systems and involvement in science, research and development, since these are the factors that will create innovation and push the economic progress of a country further ahead.

Top Ten Listing

1st – Switzerland (5.63), 2nd – Sweden (5.56), 3rd – Singapore (5.48), 4th – United States (5.43), 5th – Germany (5.39), 6th – Japan (5.37), 7th – Finland (5.37), 8th – Netherlands (5.33), 9th – Denmark (5.32), 10th – Canada (5.30).

Rank and Scores of GCC Nations

17th – Qatar (5.10), 21st – Saudi Arabia (4.95), 25th – UAE (4.89), 34th – Oman (4.61), 35th – Kuwait (4.59), 37th – Bahrain (4.54).

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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