S/Africa drops in global competitiveness index - Agency

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While the current ranking is one rung lower than last year's, the two are not comparable because of a change in the methodology, the WEF notes. The 12 pillars are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation. After peaking at 11th in 2007, South Korea slid to 19th in 2012, 25th in 2013 and then to 26th in 2014, where it has remained for four years in a row.

"Zimbabwe is ranked 13 from the bottom - little change from when it was 12 places off the floor", WEF said in the latest survey, adding that "certainly, in Zimbabwe, in the absence of exchange rate adjustment, it will be extraordinarily hard, probably impossible, to restore competitiveness".

Indonesia has increased its standing to 36th place in the Global Competitiveness Index due to the country's large market, robust macroeconomic environment and notable efforts to improve business sophistication over the past year. "The rank looks at the relative position and the score looks at the performance over time", explained Crotti. "The city is still endowed with the world's best physical infrastructure, and its healthy level of competition and openness ensure extremely efficient markets, which in turn are supported by strong and stable financial markets".

The GCI ranking is determined by the performance of 12 pillars or drivers of competitiveness, that collectively define a country's rating.

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It has created around 1,000 jobs at the plant and a maintenance shed, and 5,000 jobs in the supplier network. At that time, the government had claimed that these two projects were the biggest FDI in the rail sector.

WEForum noted that it is still the most competitive country in East Asia and Pacific, followed by Hong Kong.

Among Asian economies other than Japan and Hong Kong, Taiwan came 15th, down from 14th. To be sure, many question the credibility of the national competitiveness assessment. "The countries at the top of the rankings scored highly in the areas of labor market and finance market efficiency and corporate innovation".

Forum economists told reporters that a key finding this year was that labor force flexibility, combined with worker protection, were vital, arguing that both can be achieved simultaneously. The rankings are based on statistics that have been arbitrarily selected by the WEF, a private-sector organization, critics say, contending that they are no more than a mathematical representation of the "pro-business" viewpoints of the CEOs from around the world, whose questionnaire is given more than half the weight in the assessment, critics point out.

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