By Adam Coleman
Australia has been ranked ninteenth in an international report on global competitiveness behind Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, which topped the list followed by Denmark, Singapore and the United States.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2006-2007 recognises national competitiveness as the set of factors, policies and institutions that determine the level of productivity of a country.
“Raising productivity—meaning making better use of available factors and resources—is the driving force behind the rates of return on investment which, in turn, determine the aggregate growth rates of an economy. Thus, a more competitive economy will be one which will likely grow faster in a medium to long-term perspective,” the report says.
Australia’s ranked nineteenth in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) which provides an ‘holistic overview’ of factors it deems critical to driving productivity and competitiveness – institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomy, health and primary education, higher education and training, market efficiency, technological readiness, business sophistication and innovation.
“The top rankings of Switzerland and the Nordic countries show that good institutions and competent macroeconomic management, coupled with world-class educational attainment and a focus on technology and innovation, are a successful strategy for boosting competitiveness in an increasingly complex global economy,” says World Economic Forum – Global Competitiveness Network, chief economist and director, Augusto Lopez-Claros.
“Business activity in these countries benefits from a well-developed institutional framework, characterized by the rule of law, an efficient judicial system and high levels of transparency and accountability within public institutions.
Mr Lopez-Claros says excellent infrastructure is an additional positive feature of the business environment and that there is a rapidly growing importance in quality higher education and training as engines of productivity growth.
“Countries that, like the Nordics, are investing heavily in education are likely to see rising levels of income per capita, growing success in reducing poverty and an increasing ability to establish a presence in the global economy,” he says.
The world economy is not a zero-sum game, acoording to Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School, Michael E Porter.
“Many nations can improve their prosperity if they can improve productivity. The central challenge in economic development, then, is how to create the conditions for rapid and sustained productivity growth," he says.
The rankings are drawn from a combination of publicly available hard data and the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, together with its network of Partner Institutes including leading research institutes and business organizations in the countries covered by the Report.
Japan, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK rounded out the top ten.
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