Singapore is the world’s most competitive economy, according to the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. The study – “How to end a lost decade of productivity growth” - is in its 40th edition and covers 141 economies through 103 indicators organized into 12 themes. “Each indicator, using a scale from 0 to 100, shows how close an economy is to the ideal state or “frontier” of competitiveness – the report says - The pillars, which cover broad socio-economic elements are: institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability”.
The Asian city state pushed the United States, the world’s largest economy and still an “innovation powerhouse”, to second place: with a score of 84.8 (+1.3), Singapore won top place thanks to its infrastructure, financial system, health and labour market, but still has a way to go when it comes to freedom of press and sustainability. Hong Kong SAR (3rd), Netherlands (4th) and Switzerland (5th) round up the top five. The Netherlands is the most competitive country in Europe, while Denmark, Uruguay and Zimbabwe have seen the biggest increase in renewable energy usage. The Northern hemisphere is where the index finds countries with better living conditions and more innovative and dynamic economies.
The Asia-Pacific in general is the most competitive region on the planet, followed by Europe and North America.
Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the report also highlights the permanence of a low productivity growth in the global economy, despite the injection of more than $10 trillion by central banks. What the Forum calls “the decade lost” has been marked by increasing inequalities, return of protectionist policies in several countries and the climate change emergency. High levels of uncertainty and low confidence among business leaders are worrying indicators and some experts fear the possibility of another economic downturn in the near future.
Notwithstanding these bleak premises, it also shows those economies with a more dynamic and integrated approach can still overcome the current challenge and set to get ahead “in the race to the frontier”.
Among the most interesting findings, the index suggests there is a “win-win” relationship between competitiveness and social cohesiveness and environmental sustainability, with a productive, low-carbon, inclusive economy is possible. The urgency of the climate crisis is the clearest indicator that economic growth cannot come at all costs. Fiscal incentives for investments, particularly in advanced economies suffering from stagnant growth levels, are key to promote productivity growth, as well as investments in education, technology and sustainability.
The Forum’s report also insists on the pivotal role of education: “Talent adaptability is critical. It pays to enable the workforce to contribute to the technology revolution and to be able to cope with its disruptions. Talent adaptability also requires a well-functioning labour market that protects workers, not jobs.”
Follow the link below to access the complete report: