Qatar tops Gulf in world list of best economies

GCC countries show improvement on 2007 rankings published by World Economic Forum.
Qatar tops Gulf in world list of best economies
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 08 Oct 2008 06:54 PM

Qatar is the most economically competitive country in the Gulf region, according to the latest Global Competitiveness Report (GCR), released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum.

The Gulf state ranked 26th in the world list, a jump of five places on the previous report.

Saudi Arabia was ranked 27 (up from 35th last year), the UAE 31 (37), Kuwait 35 (30), Bahrain 37 (43) and Oman 38 (42).

The US topped the overall ranking with Switzerland in second position followed by Denmark, Sweden, Singapore, Finland and Germany.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of leading research institutes and business organisations in the countries covered by the report.

The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) has been based on some 12 “pillars of competitiveness” such as 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.

As in previous years, Israel, in 23rd position, led the Middle East and North Africa ranking, despite a drop of six places since last year.

The competitiveness of most Gulf countries showed a robust upward trend. The most competitive among them, Qatar, has been buoyed by the country’s well-assessed institutions, but also by advances in the functioning of financial markets, as well as enhanced innovative capacity.

However the report identified rising inflation as a threat that could put Qatar’s future competitiveness at risk.

Saudi Arabia, which improved by eight places this year, has made big strides with respect to the institutional framework for doing business.

Recent reforms, such as the greater ease of setting up new businesses and the overhaul of the judiciary are major plusses, the report added, but more needs to be done to improve the quantity and quality of education.

The UAE improved its rating across all pillars of the GCI, with a more stable macroeconomic environment and a better assessment of the quality of the educational system, the report said.

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum, said: “In an uncertain global financial environment it is more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development.

“The World Economic Forum has for many years played a facilitating role in this process by providing detailed assessments of the productive potential of nations worldwide."

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