News / Economy

Switzerland Tops Economic Competitiveness Survey

FILE - A logo, taken with long exposure, is shown at the World Economic Forum headquarters in Cologny near Geneva.
FILE - A logo, taken with long exposure, is shown at the World Economic Forum headquarters in Cologny near Geneva.
Lisa Schlein

A new report by the World Economic Forum ranks Switzerland as the most competitive country in the world, followed by Singapore and the United States.

As in previous years, countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Chad, Guinea and Burundi hold up the bottom of the 144 countries surveyed in this latest edition of The Global Competitiveness, which assesses the competitiveness landscape of 148 economies.

Switzerland comes out on top for the sixth year in a row. The United States has moved up two places to third position in the competitiveness rankings. Completing the list of top 10 are five European countries plus Japan and Hong Kong.
 
Senior Economist at the World Economic Forum, Benat Bilbao, tells VOA very little separates the top 10 in the rankings.

Aided by technology, education

Bilbao said they all score high in areas such as structural reforms, health and primary education, and technological readiness.
 
"Smart investments in human capital, in talent and innovation are the key for competitiveness and this is something that we see it is a common and shared characteristic of all the countries in the top 10 of our ranking,” Bilbao said.

“In order to implement the structural reforms and engage in the smart investments that are important to boost competitiveness … the public sector and the private sector need to work hand-in-hand," he said.  
 
The Global Competitiveness Report warns the health of the global economy is at risk as countries struggle to implement structural reforms necessary to help economies grow. 

The report presents a mixed picture as to how well countries across different regions are pursuing the factors needed to boost their productivity and prosperity.
 
In Europe, the report finds a divide between a highly competitive North and countries in the South and East that are lagging behind in competitiveness.  

The survey, which was conducted between March and May, does not reflect the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Ironically, the report notes both Russia and Ukraine have moved up 10 places in the rankings this year to 53rd and 76th, respectively.
 
Bilbao said a different picture is likely to emerge next year.  

By the same token, Bilbao said instability in the Middle East has negatively affected economies there.  He noted Syria and Iraq are not included in the rankings because of the impossibility of conducting a survey there. However, neighboring Lebanon has suffered from the fighting in the region, dropping 10 points to 113th position, he added.

Sub-Saharan Africa growth

The report finds sub-Saharan Africa continues to register impressive growth rates of close to 5 percent.  However, only three countries, including Mauritius, South Africa and Rwanda score in the top half of the competitiveness rankings.
 
Bilbao said many African countries still occupy the bottom of the 144 ranked countries.
 
“What they have in common is not just that they are in turmoil, facing a difficult social and political situation or a health crisis,” he said.

“I think that what they have in common is … weak institutions, poor functioning of the markets and very low level of education that do not provide the necessary skills for their economies to actually move towards more productive activities,” Bilbao said.  
 
A brighter note is struck by the Asian Tigers, who continue to live up to their name. The report calls the competitiveness dynamics in South-East Asia remarkable.

Besides 2nd-ranked Singapore, it finds the five largest countries -- Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam -- all progressing in the rankings.  
 
While China has moved up one place to number 28, Pakistan has put in a dismal performance coming in at number 129 in the global competition.  

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9118
JPY
USD
124.31
GBP
USD
0.6420
CAD
USD
1.3048
INR
USD
64.136

Rates may not be current.