Bahrain wins key global ranking in WEF report
Manama, September 10, 2010
Bahrain is the 37th most competitive country in the world, up one place from a year ago, according to the latest Global Competitiveness report produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Qatar, in 17th place, leads the GCC but all of the members have made it into the top 40 this year.
Bahrain's strong showing is largely down to positive indicators on government stability, a lack of crime, strong regulations, good public health and a lack of corruption.
Its poorest scores in the survey come through restrictive labour practices, a poor work ethic in the national labour force and the inadequacy of an educated workforce, according to the survey.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 was released on Thursday by the WEF ahead of its annual meeting of the New Champions 2010 event which is being held in Tianjin, China.
Most Gulf countries continue the upward trend displayed in recent years, with all of them now featuring in the top 40, the report says.
Iran and Lebanon enter the rankings for the first time, at 69th and 92nd, respectively.
Switzerland tops the overall ranking for the second year in a row. The US falls two more places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden in second place and Singapore in third, after already falling from first place last year.
In addition to the macroeconomic imbalances that have been building up over time, there has been a persistent weakening of the US public and private institutions, as well as continuing concerns about the state of its financial markets.
Nordic countries continue to be well positioned in the ranking, with Sweden, Finland (seventh) and Denmark (ninth) among the top 10, and Norway at 14th.
The UK, after falling in the rankings over recent years, moves back up by one place to 12th position.
China continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by two more places this year to 27th position, and solidifying its place among the top 30.
India and Russia, remain stable at 51st and 63rd position, respectively.
Several Asian economies perform strongly, with Japan (sixth), Hong Kong (11th) and Taiwan (13th) also in the top 20.
In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa (54th) and Mauritius (55th) feature in the top half of the rankings, followed by second-tier best regional performers Namibia (74th), Botswana (76th) and Rwanda (80th).
'Policy-makers are struggling with ways of managing the present economic challenges while preparing their economies to perform well in a future economic landscape characterised by uncertainty and shifting balances,' said WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab.
'In such a global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development,' he added.
'Amid concerns about the outlook for the global economy, policy-makers must not lose sight of long-term competitiveness fundamentals amid short-term challenges,' said co-author of the report Columbia University professor of economics Xavier Sala-i-Martin.
'For economies to remain competitive, they must ensure that they have in place those factors driving the productivity enhancements on which their present and future prosperity is built.
'A competitiveness-supporting economic environment can help national economies to weather business cycle downturns and ensure that the mechanisms enabling solid economic performance going into the future are in place,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service