South Africa has recorded a slight improvement in its world competitiveness and productivity, an international ranking study has found.
The 2016 Institute for Management Development World Competitiveness Yearbook – a leading annual report – ranked the country 52nd out of 61 countries. Last year, South Africa ranked 53rd.
The rankings rate the ability of industrialised and emerging economies to create and maintain an environment that sustains the competitiveness of enterprises.
Country data is grouped into four competitiveness factors: government efficiency, business efficiency, economic performance, and infrastructure.
South Africa’s slight improvement, said watchdog group Productivity SA, was despite challenges faced by the country such as climate change and water scarcity, which threaten the sustainability of growth.
Factors like the lack of commitment to skills development, leading to high unemployment rates; increasingly poor public sector service delivery and perceived corruption; education outcomes being poor on average and uneven; low business confidence; and declining household demand, have also negatively affected growth.
“Looking at the Brics countries, South Africa has performed better than Brazil (57th), and China (which dropped in 2016 rankings to 25th, although it is still the leader among Brics nations). Russia (44th) and India (41st) have improved their rankings.”
This edition ranks China-Hong Kong first, Switzerland second and the US third, with Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada completing the top 10.
The director of the Institute for Management Development World Competitiveness Centre, Professor Arturo Bris, said a consistent commitment to a favourable business environment was central to China-Hong Kong’s rise, and Switzerland’s small size and commitment to quality had allowed it to react quickly to keep its economy on top.
“The US still boasts the best economic performance in the world, but there are many other factors that we take into account when assessing competitiveness,” he said.
“The common pattern among all of the countries in the top 20 is their focus on business-friendly regulation, physical and intangible infrastructure and inclusive institutions.”