Singapore achieved the top rank in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index for 2019. In the 2018 index, it was ranked in the second place behind the US, among 141 economies.
The index is an annual yardstick for policy-makers to assess their progress against the full set of factors that determine productivity. These are organized into 12 pillars: Institutions; Infrastructure; ICT adoption; Macroeconomic stability; Health; Skills; Product market; Labor market; Financial system; Market size; Business dynamism; and Innovation capability.
The results in 2019 reveal that, on average, most economies continue to be far from the competitiveness “frontier”—the aggregate ideal across all factors of competitiveness. With a score of 84.8 out of 100, Singapore is the country closest to the frontier of competitiveness.
Singapore ranked first in terms of infrastructure, health and labor market functioning. The city state ranked 2nd for the quality of public institutions, behind Finland, but its performance is undermined by limited checks and balances. It also ranked highly in ICT adoption (3rd), product market measured by trade openness and domestic competition (2nd), financial system (2nd) and innovation capability (13th). The country was within the top 15 in most other areas. Singapore notably ranks 124th on the Freedom of the Press Index and lack of commitment to sustainability, where it ranked in the 66th place. According to the report, in order to become a global innovation hub going forward, Singapore will need to promote entrepreneurship and further improve its skills base.
Led by Singapore, the East Asia and the Pacific region is the most competitive in the world, followed by Europe and North America. Hong Kong SAR (3rd) and Japan (6th) also feature in the top 10. Vietnam (67th) is the country whose score improved the most globally, up from the 77th position in 2018.
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post, “This is encouraging news as it reflects how our strong fundamentals have continued to distinguish us from the competition. Nevertheless, as a small and open economy, we cannot afford to take things for granted.”
(Sources: World Economic Forum; Straits Times)