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Published 06 September 2012 05:52, Updated 10 September 2012 06:44
Tennis ace Roger Federer isn’t the only thing that’s competitive about Switzerland. Photo: AFP
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has updated its list of how countries around the world stack up on its competitiveness scale.
In The Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013: Strengthening Recovery by Raising Productivity, the WEF “define[s] competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country”.
The 12 categories the Forum measures uses to decide rankings are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomics, health and primary education, goods and market efficiency, higher education and training, labour market efficiency, technological readiness, financial market development, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.
On the updated scale, Australia comes in at No. 20, holding steady at it’s ranking last year, which was down four spots on the year before that. The top 10:
The WEF highlights the strong performance of Asia-Pacific countries in the 2012-2013 survey, noting that six countries from the region made the top 10 (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and Australia).
On Australia it says: “After losing four positions to faster-improving economies last year, Australia retains its rank of 20th and score of 5.1, just behind Korea. Among the country’s most notable advantages is its efficient and well-developed financial system (8th), supported by a banking sector that counts as among the most stable and sound in the world, ranked 5th. The country earns very good marks in education, placing 15th in primary education and 11th in higher education and training.
“Australia’s macroeconomic situation is satisfactory in the current context (26th). Despite repeated budget deficits, its public debt amounts to a low 23 percent of GDP, the third lowest ratio among the advanced economies, behind only Estonia and Luxembourg.
“The main area of concern for Australia is the rigidity of its labour market
(42nd). Indeed, the business community cites the labour regulations as being the most problematic factor for doing business, ahead of red tape. In addition, although the situation has improved since last year, transport infrastructure continues to suffer bottlenecks owing to the boom in commodity exports.”
Among Australia’s top 10 trading partners for goods and services in 2011 (as defined by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) the leaderboard stacked up as follows:
As for the world’s 10 least competitive countries in descending order out of the 144 nations ranked by WEF, Burundi headed the pack: