The World Economic Forum has been providing an annual report on the competitiveness of economies around the world. The report is based on the strength of twelve economic pillars including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.
Norway had a GDP of $389.5 billion and a population of 5.2 million in 2015 translating to a GDP per capita of $74,822.11. The European country was ranked at position 11 in the 2015 Global Competitiveness Report with a score of 5.4. However, Norway posted spectacular results in some of the economic pillars with its macroeconomic environment rated as the best in the world. Norwegian institutions also performed quite well and were chosen as the fifth best globally.
10. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom completed the top-ten list of the world’s most competitive economies coming at position ten with a 5.4 score. The UK’s GDP for 2015 was $2.849 trillion and a population of 65.1 million people. The UK’s GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity in 2015 was $41,158.91 while its GDP per capita was $43,770.69. ICT was one of the best performing economic pillars with ICT penetration in the UK being the second best in the world.
The 2015 Global Competitiveness Report placed Sweden at ninth place, an improvement from its 2014 ranking. In 2015, Sweden had a GDP of $492.6 billion against a population of 9.9 million people, translating to a GDP per capita of $49,866.27. During the same year, the Sweden’s GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity was $47,922.24. While the local business climate was favorable and competitive, economic growth was hindered mostly by the total tax rate on profits which at 49.4% was higher in comparison to international standards.
One of the few poor performers of the list was Finland which despite having the eighth most competitive economy in the world has been on a downward spiral in the rankings. Over the years, the Finnish economy has experienced low diversification with the primary industries of paper and technology experiencing successive shocks. The country’s trade has also experienced a sharp decline with its balance of trade turning negative in 2014. However, few pillars of the Finnish economy performed spectacularly with the efficiency and transparency of its public institutions being voted as the best in the world.
7. Hong Kong
The population of Hong Kong in 2015 was about 7.3 million people while its GDP was around $309.9 billion translating to a GDP per capita of $42,389.63. In 2015, Hong Kong was ranked as having the seventh most competitive economy in the world based on the Global Competitiveness Report of the year. Hong Kong has posted consistent improvements across all economic pillars with Hong Kong being in the top ten most competitive economies since 2012-2013. Hong Kong’s infrastructure was its best performing economic pillar coming at first place in the world. Another top performing pillar was goods market efficiency where Hong Kong was voted as the second best globally.
The Japanese economy is one of the biggest in Asia and is also one of Asia’s most competitive economies. The country posted a GDP of US$4.123 trillion and a population of 126.9 million people in 2015. The Japanese GDP per capita in 2015 was $32,485.54 while the country’s GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity was $38,054.20 during the same year. According to the 2015 report, Japan retained the sixth position of the world’s most competitive economies with the country achieving a score of 5.5. Japan experienced improvements in most economic pillars with the country being the global leader in employing unique products and production processes. The local Japanese suppliers were chosen as the best in the world.
The GDP of the Netherlands in 2015 was $738.4 billion and a population of 16.9 million people translating to a GDP per capita of $43,603.11. The Netherlands economy was the fifth most competitive in the world based on the Global Competitiveness Report of 2015, moving up three places to its highest rank ever. The Netherlands produced its best results in higher education and training with the country ranking third. Improvements in infrastructure also boosted the country’s rank with the country coming in the third place in infrastructure.
In 2015, Germany had a GDP of over $3.3 trillion and a total population of 81.9 million people translating to a GDP per capita of $40,996.51. Germany was the second best European country on the global list of most competitive economies. The country came in fourth place globally, climbing one spot from its 2014 rank, with a score of 5.5. Germany’s prominence in the list was attributed to its strengthened financial and labor markets. Germany had the third highest degree of international distribution control and was also the third globally when regarding local businesses employing the latest technology.
3. United States
The United States came in third place in the 2015 Global Competitiveness Report. According to the report, the United States had a GDP of $17.947 trillion, the largest in any country and equivalent to 15.81% of the total global GDP. The United States’ population was around 321.6 million people translating to a GDP per capita of $55,805.20. According to the report, the United States’ biggest resource was its large market size which was the second largest in the world. Other crucial pillars where the US scored highly include business sophistication where the country came in fourth.
In 2015, Singapore had a GDP of $292.7 billion and a population of 5.5 million people which translates to a GDP per capita of $52,887.77. Singapore’s economy was ranked second in the 2015 Global Competitiveness Report where the economy was valued at 5.7 and held the second-place rank for five consecutive years. Singapore’s economy’s competitiveness is attributed to several factors. According to the report, the country had the best higher-education system in the world and ranked first in overall market efficiency. Singapore also had the most flexible labor market in the world and the second most attractive labor force in the world. The country had the second most efficient and transparent institutional framework in the world.
According to the 2015 Global Competitiveness Report, Switzerland has the most competitive economy with the European country topping the Global Competitive Index list in 2015 for the seventh consecutive year. Switzerland had a GDP of $664.6 billion against a population of 8.2 million translating to a GDP per capita of $80,675.31. The economic brilliance experienced in Switzerland is attributed to the country’s increased expenditure towards research and development with Switzerland having the best research institutions in the world. Switzerland is the global leader in innovation due to the existing strong relationship between the academic institutions and the private sector. Switzerland also has robust and efficient financial institutions which are global leaders in transparency.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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