Reduced crime and a stable rand is a sign of progress in South Africa: study

 ·24 May 2018

Swiss business school, IMD, has published its World Competitiveness Rankings for 2018.

IMD uses 258 indicators to compile the rankings where ‘hard’ data – such as national employment and trade statistics – are weighted twice as much as the ‘soft’ data from an executive opinion survey, which measures the business perception of issues like corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life.

This year, 63 countries are ranked.

The top five most competitive economies in the world remain the same as in the previous year, but have seen an order change, with the United States returning to the first spot, followed by Hong Kong (1st in 2017), Singapore (3rd in 2017), the Netherlands and Switzerland.

According to the report, the return of the United States to the top is driven by its strength in economic performance (1st) and infrastructure (1st). Hong Kong takes a somewhat different approach exploiting its government efficiency (1st) and business efficiency (1st).

The Netherlands moved up one place to 4th, swapping with Switzerland which moves down to 5th.

“The Netherlands’ advancement shows a ‘balanced’ path to competitiveness, ranking in the top 10 in economic performance, government and business efficiency. Switzerland declines mainly due to a slowdown in exports and, to a lesser extent, an increase in perceptions about threats of relocation of R&D facilities,” IMD said.

“The remaining places in the top 10 are occupied largely by Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden rank 6th, 8th and 9th respectively.

“These countries show strong performance in the overall productivity of the private sector and its management practices. The UAE (7th) and Canada (10th) close the top of the rankings.”

Ranking Country Score
1 USA 100.00
2 Hong Kong 99.162
3 Singapore 98.553
4 Netherlands 97.534
5 Switzerland 97.143
6 Denmark 96.385
7 UAE 95.659
8 Norway 95.424
9 Sweden 95.046
10 Canada 94.337

South Africa

Overall South Africa remains stable on the list at 53rd – its same ranking as in 2017.

While this is still a relatively low ranking compared to the rest of the world’s developed economies, IMD said that some positive progress was being shown by the country as a whole.

“Progress in institutional framework driven by exchange rate stability contributes to a slight increase in government efficiency,” it said. “A minor reduction in crime and some measures on gender disparity also support that increase.”

“Positive GDP growth and an improving current account deficit suggest that South Africa may be moving out of its transition period, while the continued broad range of export partners supports stability.”

However, it added that low growth and high unemployment were two major weaknesses that the country would have to deal with going forward.

Read: These are your chances of getting a job after graduating in South Africa

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