South Africa slips from 53 to 56 in IMD World Competitiveness rankings

The most recent IMD World Competitiveness Rankings report, compiled by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, shows that South Africa has fallen five positions in county competitiveness rankings between 2018 and 2019. The report ranked Singapore as the world’s most competitive economy for the first time since 2010, while the United States slipped from the top spot. Other big falls were in the UK (20th to 23rd), Japan (25th to 30th), Turkey (46th to 51st) and Argentina (56th to 61st).

According to a press release issued by the IMD, Singapore’s rise to the top was driven by its advanced technological infrastructure, the availability of skilled labour, favourable immigration laws, and efficient ways to set up new businesses. Hong Kong SAR held on to second place, helped by a benign tax and business policy environment and access to business finance.

The initial boost to confidence from President Donald Trump’s first wave of tax policies appears to have faded in the United States, according to the ranking. While still setting the pace globally for levels of infrastructure and economic performance, the competitiveness of the world’s biggest economy was hit by higher fuel prices, weaker hi-tech exports and fluctuations in the value of the dollar.

Arturo Bris, IMD Professor and Director of IMD World Competitiveness Center was quoted saying that in a year of high uncertainty in global markets due to rapid changes in the international political landscape as well as trade relations, the quality of institutions seemed to be the unifying element for increasing prosperity.

He said that a strong institutional framework provided the stability for business to invest and innovate, ensuring a higher quality of life for citizens.

Highlights of the report showed that Singapore rose from third position to top spot, switching places with USA and that Hong Kong remained second. The UAE entered the top five for the first time. For more details on the 2018 rankings compared to 2019 ranking, click here.

International Institute for Management Development (IMD) is a business education school located in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is not part of a university, and only offers MBA and Executive MBA program

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