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WEF: Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world

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Proving that the 4.0 frontier is more than just a buzzword, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has introduced its new Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 (GCI 4.0).

It measures the productivity of economies across 12 pillars: institutions; infrastructure; ICT adoption; macroeconomic stability; health; skills; product market; labour market; financial system; market size; business dynamism; and innovation capability.

In this backdrop, this year’s Global Competitiveness Report has found that Singapore is the world’s most competitive economy in 2019. With a score of 84.8 (+1.3), it has overtaken the United States, which falls to second place. Hong Kong SAR (3rd), Netherlands (4th), and Switzerland (5th) round up the top five.

The following are the 10 most competitive economies in the world:

Note: A country’s performance on the overall GCI results as well as each of its components is reported as a ‘progress score’ on a 0-to-100 scale, where 100 represents the ‘frontier’. Each country should aim to move closer to the frontier on each component of the index.

 

Regional and country analysis: Asia Pacific vs rest of the world

  • With a score of 84.8 out of 100, Singapore is the country closest to the frontier of competitiveness. It ranks first in terms of infrastructure, health, labour market functioning, and financial system development.
  • The US may have lost out to Singapore overall, but it remains 1st on the business dynamism pillar, 2nd on innovation capability, and 1st for finding skilled employees.
  • Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world, followed closely by Europe and North America.
  • But the region is also home to economies with significant competitiveness deficits, such as Cambodia (106th) and Lao PDR (113th).
  • Malaysia is ranked the world’s 27th most competitive economy. It has performed the best on the scale of ‘financial system’ where it has ranked 15th in the world.
  • Vietnam (67th) appears to be benefiting from global trade tensions through trade diversion, and has appeared as the most improved country in 2019.
  • In South Asia, India, in 68th position, loses ground in the rankings despite a relatively stable score, mostly due to faster improvements of several countries previously ranked lower.
  • India is followed by Sri Lanka (the most improved country in the region at 84th), Bangladesh (105th), Nepal (108th) and Pakistan (110th).

Lead photo / 123RF
Inline graphic / WEF

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