Israel ranks 27th in competitiveness, but third for innovation
Qatar is top-ranked in the Middle East
Among other Middle Eastern countries, the emirate of Qatar had the highest ranking overall (13th), while the United Arab Emirates were 19th. Saudi Arabia is in 20th place, down two slots from last year. Jordan is in 68th place and Egypt, which has been the scene of tremendous instability over the past year, sank 11 places to 118th.
The most competitive economies, the Forum said, were Switzerland (No. 1) followed by Singapore, then Finland, all three unchanged in their rank from last year. Germany moved up to fourth, from sixth last year, reflecting high-quality infrastructure, an efficient goods market and a high capacity for innovation.
The competitiveness of the United States among global economies is rising again after four years of decline and is now 5th, up from 7th. Northern European countries continue to dominate the rankings published annually by the World Economic Forum. Six European countries dominated the top 10: Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The remaining three slots were Asian: Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Although remaining in the top 10, Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden lost ground compared to last year.
The U.S. turnaround reflects “a perceived improvement in the country’s financial market as well as greater confidence in its public institutions,” the report concluded. Hong Kong moved up to seventh and Japan advanced to ninth. But Sweden dropped to sixth, while the Netherlands sank to eighth, and Britain moved down to 10th, reflecting what the Forum called the distractions of public debt problems and concerns about the future of the euro currency. Neither Britain nor Sweden use the European currency themselves.
Switzerland topped the rankings of the 148 economies for the fifth consecutive year. The Forum said Switzerland’s standing rests notably on its innovation, labor market efficiency, sophistication of its business sector and top-notch scientific research institutions.
The survey also found that countries in southern Europe, such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, continue to suffer numerous economic problems, including weakness in their financial markets and poor access to financing.
The Associated Press and Israel Fisher