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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.