A drop in SA’s Competitiveness

South Africa has dropped a notch in its overall competitiveness. This is according to The 2017 Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY). For 2017 South Africa has been rated 53 out of 63 countries surveyed by the IMD. In 2017 South Africa was rated at 52.

The challenges cited for this grim performance include lack of sustainable and inclusive growth, high level of structural unemployment and lack of access to quality education. With a measly Real Domestic Product(GDP) growth of 0.3% and Consumer Price Inflation(CPI) hovering at above 6%, South Africa ‘s unemployment rate sits at about 27%. South Africa is ranked last in terms of employment.  In 2016 South Africa‘s GDP hobbled to a better 1.3%.

The WCY ranking is an annual report on the competitiveness of selected countries and is recognised internationally as the leading Executive Opinion Survey of competitiveness between nations. 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. 

Despite the decline in economic performance, South Africa was ranked highly in terms of factors such as Cost-of-living index and an effective personal income tax rate. However South Africa dropped 10 places for Government Efficiency with a significant fall from a ranking of 40 in 2016 to a ranking of 50 for 2017.

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) rates the ability of 63 industrialised 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 from 54 in 2016 to 59 in 2017.
  • Government efficiency’s performance suffered a hard knock sliding ten places from 40 in 2016 to 50 in 2017.
  • Business efficiency’s performance ranking has once again shown an improvement from with a climb of six places notching a ranking of 41 in 2017 up from 47 in 2016.
  • Infrastructure has recorded a drop from 54 in 2016 to 56 in 2017.

The world’s most competitive countries continue to jostle for the top positions in the 2017 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, as the USA is pushed out of the top three. Hong Kong has taken the top spot for the second year, followed by Switzerland and Singapore, with the USA ranking fourth, its lowest position in five years and moving down one notch from 2016. The Netherlands came in fifth, jumping up from eighth last year.

“Whether or not a country is competitive is not determined by short-term growth, countries’ own assessment of prosperity, or even competition. Rather, it is about the ability to generate sustainable long-term value. From an entrepreneur’s point of view, another key factor identified by the IMD World Competitiveness Center is that a country that improves its competitiveness will see a subsequent improvement in GDP and stock market growth”. (IMD)