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Tue 8 Sep 2009 02:47 PM

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Qatar tops Gulf in new competitiveness list

World Economic Forum reveals mixed fortunes for GCC nations in 2009-10 list.

Qatar has edged ahead of the UAE to claim the title of the Gulf region's most competitive country, according to a new ranking published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday.

Qatar was rated 22nd overall in the list of 133 countries which was topped by Switzerland.

The world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas pipped the UAE to the best in the Gulf title with the emirates coming in 23rd.

Both countries have moved up the global list since 2008 with Qatar jumping four places and the UAE up eight places.

All the other GCC countries fell in the competitiveness rating. Saudi Arabia dropped one place to 28th, Bahrain came in at number 38 (from 37 in 2008), Kuwait was ranked 39th, a fall of four places, and Oman was the 41st most competitive nation, having been rated 38th the previous year.

Switzerland topped the overall ranking while the US fell to second place due to a weakening in its financial markets and macroeconomic stability, WEF said. Singapore, Sweden and Denmark rounded out the top five while the UK dropped one place to 13th in the list which was propped up by Burundi.

Several Asian economies performed strongly with Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, China also in the top 20.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: "The strong interdependence among the world’s economies makes this a truly global economic crisis in every sense. In a difficult global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put into place strong fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development."

The rankings were calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum.

This year, over 13,000 business leaders were polled in 133 economies.

The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is based on 12 pillars of competitiveness, including Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic Stability, Health and Primary Education, Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labour Market Efficiency, Financial Market Sophistication, Technological Readiness, Market Size, Business Sophistication, and Innovation.