South Africa has moved up one place from 53rd to 52nd out of 60 countries ranked in the latest world competitiveness rankings by top-ranked Switzerland-based business school IMD.
The IMD released its 2014 World Competitiveness Yearbook ranking, based on a survey of international executives, on Thursday, saying: “The overall competitiveness story for 2014 is one of continued success in the US, partial recovery in Europe, and struggles for some large emerging markets.”
The US retained top spot in the 2014 ranking, followed by Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Sweden. South Africa’s BRICS partners came in at 23rd (China), 38th (Russia), 44th (India) and 54th (Brazil). South Africa was the only African country surveyed.
By way of comparison, the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Global Competitiveness Index, which surveyed 148 countries, placed South Africa 53rd overall, second in Africa (behind Mauritius at 45th), and second among the BRICS economies (China ranked 29th, Brazil 56th, India 60th, and Russia 64th).
South Africa improved in two of the four categories on which the IMD’s overall ranking is based, climbing by three places to 55th in the infrastructure ranking and by one place to 56th in the economic performance ranking.
However, the country dropped by three places to 35th in the government efficiency ranking, and by eight places to 51st in the business efficiency ranking.
IMD executive director Hischam El-Agamy told Business Day that the recent high level of strike activity in South Africa was the main reason for the drop in the business efficiency table, while management of public finances accounted for the decline in government efficiency.
The IMD noted that most big emerging markets had slid in the 2014 rankings due to slowing economic growth and foreign investment and continuing problems with inadequate infrastructure.
“China [down 2 places to 23] falls partly owing to concerns about its business environment, while India [down by 4 to 44] and Brazil [down by 3 to 54] suffer from inefficient labour markets and ineffective business management,” the IMD said in a statement.
Turkey (down by 3 to 40), Mexico (down by 9 to 41), the Philippines (down by 4 to 42) and Peru (down by 7 to 50) also fell.