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South Africa has moved up a notch in terms of its overall competitiveness. This is according to The 2016 Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY). The minimal upward trajectory in South Africa ‘s competitiveness is however scant consolation for an economy that has seen a decline in Real GDP growth per capita from -0.06 in 2016 to -0.46 in 2016.

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook is the leading annual report on the competitiveness of nations and has been published by IMD since 1989. It benchmarks the performance of 62 countries based on more than 300 criteria measuring different facets of competitiveness.

The rankings are drawn from a combination of hard data and the results of an Executive Opinion Survey.  Productivity SA is the information partner for the IMD in South Africa.  

According to the WCY, South Africa improved its global ranking in terms of competitiveness from 53 in 2015 to 52 in 2016. The slight improvement is not despite the continuing challenges faced by the country such as climate change and water scarcity which threaten the sustainability of growth. Low business confidence and declining household continue to be more just a poser for the country.

Looking at the BRICS countries, South Africa has performed better than Brazil which ranked 57th, China also experienced a drop in 2016 rankings although is still the leading country in BRICS. Russian and India have improved their rankings in 2016, 44th and 41st places respectively.

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) rates the ability of industrialized and emerging economies to create and maintain an environment that sustains the competitiveness of enterprises. Country data is evaluated through distinct criteria, grouped into four competitiveness factors, namely: government efficiency, business efficiency, economic performance and infrastructure.

  • Economic performance has declined by from 49 in 2015 to 54 in 2015.
  • Government efficiency’s performance remained stable remaining at 40 in 2016. Government ranked 35 in 2014 however for 2015 and 2016 the ranking remains at 40.
  • Business efficiency’s performance ranking has improved fairly well with a ranking of 47 which is up five places from the 52 recorded in 2015.
  • Infrastructure has shown minimal improvement with an improvement from the position of 55 in 2015 to move a notch higher in 2016 at 54.

The USA has surrendered its status as the world’s most competitive economy after being overtaken by China Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

The sheer power of the economy of the USA is no longer sufficient to keep it at the top of the prestigious World Competitiveness Ranking, which it has led for the past three years.

The 2016 edition ranks China Hong Kong first, Switzerland second and the USA third, with Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada completing the top 10.



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