Oman retained its 32nd rank, out of 144 countries, in the annual Global Competitiveness Report released by World Economic Forum (WEF) last week. Oman is the fourth most competitive economy in the GCC after Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the report.
Qatar reaffirms once again its position as the most competitive economy in the Arab world by moving up three places to 11th position globally, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE were ranked 18th and 24th, respectively, this year. Bahrain and Kuwait achieved 35th and 37th position, respectively.
“In the Middle East and North Africa, Israel and the six members of the GCC performed strongly. But elsewhere in the region, the lack of competitiveness of the Levantine and North African countries is worrisome,” the report said.
Switzerland topped the list for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Singapore in second position and Finland in third.
The report classified Oman and Bahrain as economies in a transition stage moving from an efficiency-driven economy to an innovation-driven economy. UAE was classified as an innovation-driven economy, the only country in the Arab world in this category. An innovation-driven economy is the most advanced stage of development, according to WEF.
The report said that addressing the unemployment challenge will remain a key economic priority of the Middle East region as a whole for the foreseeable future.
“In oil and gas exporting countries in the region, where growth has been high over the past years because of high energy prices, creating jobs will require countries to continue efforts to diversify their economies.
"Given the high wage levels present in these economies, appropriate productivity levels can be achieved only through expanding into high-value-added, knowledge-based sectors,” the report said.
WEF's main index includes 12 pillars of competitiveness, such as institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, and higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size and innovation.