We have done it again! Qatar has moved up to 13th place in the overall rankings of 148 economies in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently in Geneva. The achievement seems even better when we note that Qatar tops the rankings In the Middle East and North Africa region, with the United Arab Emirates (19th) entering the top 20 for the first time.
Surely we are allowed to pat our back for the tremendous efforts made towards this achievement but it’s no time to sit back and relax. There is plenty more to do to sustain the momentum and reach even greater milestones.
Not surprisingly, Switzerland topped the overall rankings in the Report, followed by Singapore and Finland. This is the fifth year running; Switzerland has held its position as the most competitive economy. Germany moved up two places to the 4th place and the United States moved up two places to the 5th position. Two other Asian economies, Hong Kong SAR (7th) and Japan (9th), also feature in the top 10 of the rankings.
High rankings in a high-quality institutional framework (4th), a stable macroeconomic environment (6th), and an efficient goods market (3rd), helped Qatar reaffirm its position as the regional leader according to the report. Other factors that provided a good basis for heightening efficiency in the country include low levels of corruption, high efficiency of government institutions, and strong security.
UAE ranked 4th in the basic requirements sub-index, followed by Qatar in the 5th place. Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong are in the top three positions. In the efficiency enhancers sub-index, Qatar topped the region at the 18th place, followed by the UAE (20th) and Saudi Arabia (27th). Qatar also took the lead in the innovation & sophistication factors sub-index at the 14th ranking, with UAE ranking at 24th and Saudi Arabia at 29th.
The Competitiveness Report 2013 highlighted job creation as the major economic challenge for Middle East. The report also emphasized the need of institutional reform and investment in education in the 13 Arab world countries, which were analyzed in the report, for further improvements. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE led in the overall competitiveness; with Jordan slightly improving its performance.
The main factors limiting competitiveness in the region include underdeveloped skills, weak institutions and labor market inefficiency. The Arab world must improve its economic competitiveness if the region is to solve its biggest economic challenge of creating enough jobs for its youthful and growing population, the report added.
The report identified a number of areas where regional leaders could prioritize reform in order to unlock barriers to job creation and private sector expansion. These barriers differ across the region: with weak institutions and labor markets singled out as the most significant areas for improvement in North Africa; weak infrastructure and institutions in the Levant; and a pervasive education and innovation gap in countries in the Gulf.
The Global Competitiveness Report’s competitiveness ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), calculated by drawing together data covering 12 categories, namely institutions, innovation, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
So as we mentioned above, the ranking is definitely a feather in the cap for Qatar’s status but we must continue our efforts in all relevant areas to sustain the momentum to attain even greater achievements.