Singapore has been ranked 1st in the Institute for Management Development (IMD) world economic competitiveness ranking for 2019, the second time in a row. US and China trailed at 10th and 20th position. South Africa, the only African country on the top 63 most competitive countries dropped three positions to 59th from position 56 in 2018.
Singapore’s position stems from its robust international trade and stable performance in its labour market. Moreover, the country has a strong education and technological infrastructure, which contributed to the ranking.
Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Hongkong; all small economies, follow Singapore. The trend, according to IMD, is as a result of the power of smaller economies to weather global risks better than their bigger counterparts.
“The benefit of small economies in the current crisis comes from their ability to fight a pandemic and from their economic competitiveness. In part, this may be because it is easy to find social consensus.”Arturo Bris, Director of IMD World Competitiveness Center.
Sino-American trade wars affected the US and China, which saw them fall behind from 3rd and 14th position. Since 2018, the two superpowers have imposed trade tariffs on each other, often with policies that increased uncertainty in business. These actions contributed to “reversing their positive growth trajectories,” according to the report.
The oil crisis dropped UAE’s ranking from 5th to 9th position, while Brexit’s business-friendly appeal pushed the UK to 19th position.