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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.