SA slides down list of global competitiveness

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

South Africa's global competitiveness rating plummeted to sixth last out of 55 economies ranked in the World Competitiveness Yearbook.

The study was done by the Swiss business school International Institute for Management Development (IMD). The South African data was gathered by the National Productivity Institute.

Poor marks for employment, education and health care, among other criteria, saw South Africa falling 12 places from the 38th most competitive nation last year to 50th this year.

The rankings, drawn from hard data and an executive opinion survey, were based on 323 criteria in four main competitiveness categories: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

When IMD World Competitiveness Centre deputy director Suzanne Rosselet was asked why South Africa's competitiveness score had deteriorated so badly, she replied: "The world economy is growing very fast and the competitiveness environment is getting tougher for South Africa. Out of 55 countries analysed in our report, the average growth rate last year was 5,1percent. This is quite unusual and sets a very high standard for everybody. South Africa at 5percent is thus right in the middle."

Although South Africa has improved by reducing the fiscal deficit, easing restrictions on investing abroad and attracting foreign investments, it suffers from high regulation intensity, underinvestment in infrastructure, poor training of the workforce and low employment levels.