The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published their Global Competitiveness Report for 2017-2018.  According to the WEF, the Global Competitiveness Index assesses the competitiveness of the landscape of 137 country’s economies and it provides unique insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.  There are twelve pillars of competitiveness used to sort and rank each country’s economy.  The twelve pillars are as follows: institutions, infrastructure, 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.  Each of these pillars is used to measure a different part of a country’s economy’s competitiveness.

The top three countries in order are Switzerland, the United States, and Singapore.  This is the ninth consecutive year where Switzerland has topped this list.  A link to the full report can be found here; a full listing of the rankings of all 137 countries can be found on the ninth page of the introduction. The full report also includes three chapters, economy profiles on every country and a few appendices.  These chapters are about strategies countries may be able to use for stronger economic growth, key findings of this year’s report, and regional analyses and select highlights from this year’s report. 

This index is widely used among countries to measure their competitiveness with the rest of the world.  In every country this index is big news; whether your country rose, fell, or maintained their ranking it will make the news.  Here is one example from the Philippines.  The Philippines rose one place up to 56th in the overall rankings.  Usually rising even one place is a good thing for any country; however, some countries surrounding the Philippines rose above them.  Fellow ASEAN countries, Vietnam and Brunei passed the Philippines in this ranking. 

Another country to look at from this index is South Africa. South Africa has taken the 61st ranking this year.  This is a 14 position drop from their ranking last year.  The Brand South Africa called this drop a “wake-up call to South Africa.”   There are several “pillars” which are dragging down South Africa’s overall ranking. Health and primary education and labor market efficiency are 121 and 93 respectively.  Perhaps the economic policymakers in South Africa will feel driven by their drop in ranking to take action to improve in these areas. 

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