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Saudi Arabia Remains Among Top 20 Most Competitive Countries

Middle East : 07 September 2012

Source: The Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE are among the top 30 most competitive countries in the world with Qatar leading the way in the Middle East region, at number 11, “The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013″ by the World Economic Forum released Wednesday said.

Saudi Arabia dropped one place to rank number 18 with a score of 5.2 out of seven in this year’s annual report, from 17th place in last year’s report.

The United Arab Emirates has moved up three places to rank 24. Other Arab countries which also accelerated in the rankings this year include Qatar, also moving up three places in the rankings, Bahrain which moved up two places and Jordan which moved seven places to rank 64.

Morocco (70th) and Jordan (63rd) improved slightly. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th) featured in the top half of the rankings.

Egypt saw a marked decrease of 13 places to 107.

However, most countries in the region continued to require efforts across the board to improve their competitiveness.

The report ranks countries based on its global competitiveness index which combines macroeconomic and micro aspects in one index.

Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, topped the overall rankings in the latest Global Competitiveness Report.

Singapore remained in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th). These and other Northern and Western European countries dominated the top 10 with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th). The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) completed the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies.

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

The US continued 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 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. The country still remains a global innovation powerhouse and its markets work efficiently.

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) continued to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labor markets and an innovation deficit.

In Latin America, Chile (33rd) retained 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, WEF.

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