Qatar shining as most competitive economy in the Middle East
Qatar ranked 13th on the global list of the 2013-14 Global Competitiveness Report’s index and the first in the Middle East region.
According to the report issued by the World Economic Forum, Qatar reaffirms once again its position as the most competitive economy in the region at 13th position globally.
The country’s strong performance in terms of competitiveness rests on solid foundations made up of a high-quality institutional framework (4th), a stable macroeconomic environment (6th), and an efficient goods market (3rd), the report said.
Low levels of corruption and undue influence on government decisions, high efficiency of government institutions, and strong security are the cornerstones of the Qatar’s solid institutional framework, which provides a good basis for heightening efficiency, the report added.
The 2013-14 Global Competitiveness Report’s index places Switzerland at the top of the ranking for the fifth year running. Singapore and Finland remain in second and third positions respectively. Germany moves up two places to fourth position and the US reverses a four-year downward trend, climbing two places to fifth.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (7th) and Japan (9th) also close the gap on the most competitive economies, while Sweden (6th), the Netherlands (8th) and the United Kingdom (10th) fall, said the report.
Excellent innovation and strong institutional environments are increasingly influencing economies’ competitiveness, according to it.
The UAE stood at 19th. Saudi Arabia (20th) fell two places but remained among the top 20. Egypt (118th) dropped a further 11 places on last year’s index. Bahrain (43rd), Jordan (68th) and Morocco (77th) also declined. Elsewhere in the region, Algeria moved up to 100th place and Tunisia re-entered the index at 83rd.
The US continues to be a world leader in bringing innovative products and services to market. Its rise in the ranking is down to a perceived improvement in the country’s financial market as well as greater confidence in its public institutions. However, serious concerns persist over its macroeconomic stability, which ranks 117 out of 148 economies.
In Europe, efforts to tackle public debt and avoid a break-up of the euro have taken the focus off addressing deeper competitiveness issues. Southern European economies such as Spain (35th), Italy (49th), Portugal (51st) and notably Greece (91st) all need to continue addressing weaknesses in the functioning and efficiency of their markets, boost innovation and improve access to finance in order to help bridge the region’s competitiveness divide.
Some of the world’s largest emerging market economies must also engage business, government and civil society to implement long-overdue reforms. Of the five Brics, China (29th) continues to lead the group, followed by South Africa (53rd), Brazil (56th) India (60th) and Russia (64th).
Among the Brics, only Russia improves its ranking, climbing three places, while Brazil drops eight places.
Among the Asian economies, Indonesia jumps to 38th, making it the most improved of the G20 economies since 2006, while Korea (25th) falls by six places. Behind Singapore, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Japan and Taiwan (China) (12th) all remain in the top 20.
The Geneva-based World Economic Forum bases its assessment on a dozen drivers of competitiveness, including institutions, infrastructure, health and education, market size and the macroeconomic environment.
The report also factors in a survey among business leaders, assessing the government’s efficiency and transparency.
The report defines competitiveness as “the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country”.