The most competitive economies in the world

Human capital, reactivity, flexibility, resilience, transparency and innovation are the key factors of competitiveness.


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Freely drawn from “ These are the most competitive economies in the world"

For the first time in the last 10 years, the United States has been listed as the most competitive economy in the world, according to The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Competitiveness Report 2018. 140 economies were analyzed on the basis of 12 pillars - made up of 98 indicators from infrastructure to innovation - providing a unique view of the factors that support productivity, in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.

Six European countries are in the top 10, confirming the results of last year, with the exception of Denmark, which secured the 10th place in Canada, now twelfth. On the other hand, among the least competitive countries are Haiti, Yemen and Chad.

One of the Report's most significant achievements is that most countries are far from the frontier of competitiveness, since the index average is 60. The WEF also reported that the global economy was largely unprepared for the development of digital technologies in the fourth industrial revolution. A total of 103 out of 140 countries have an index of less than 50 for innovation capacity in transforming an idea into a commercial product.

"Riding the fourth industrial revolution has become a determining factor for competitiveness", wrote Klaus Schwab, founder and executive president of WEF. "Only the economies that recognize the importance of the fourth industrial revolution will be able to expand opportunities for their citizens".

The 10 most competitive economies

United States
Score 85.6

Described as "the economy closest to the frontier, the ideal state", the United States ranked among the top three for 7 pillars out of 12. Although it has achieved high marks for its entrepreneurial culture, the labor market and the financial system, the country still has areas for improvement. The United States is back in accounting systems (4th place), in the autonomy of justice (15th), in the fight against corruption (16th) and in the health system (46th), able to guarantee a life expectancy of only 67.7 years.

Score: 83.5

Singapore is in second place thanks to its healthcare system - along with Spain, Hong Kong and Japan - and its logistics system, the best in the world. The government of the country has been recognized as the most ready for the future and its policies have been commended to promote openness to foreign countries. The WEF has argued that the definition of openness must look beyond foreign trade, taking into consideration people's freedom of movement and the exchange of ideas. The economies that are more "open" in a broader sense have more innovative and more competitive markets.

Score 82.8

There are few innovation centers in the world. Germany leads this group, followed by the United States and Switzerland. Germany stood out for its patents and scientific publications and showed its strength through macroeconomic stability (1st), the dynamism of companies (2nd) and the quality of human capital (4th).

Score: 82.6

Voted this year as the best country in the world, the "super innovator" Switzerland ranked first in the quality of human capital, thanks to a health score close to the maximum (99.8) and has demonstrated one of the most advanced vocational training systems in the world (92.3). Home to a dense network of SMEs and leaders of large multinationals, Switzerland's innovation process is supported by a favorable institutional framework, transport and infrastructure above average, a stable financial system and a very dynamic labor market.

Score: 82.5

Among the top 10 countries, Japan is the one that has improved most, growing by three positions compared to the 2017 Report. It ranks first in the healthcare system and in air transport infrastructure. It is in the first positions in the overall infrastructures and in the adoption of ITC technologies, with 93% of the adult population using the Internet on a regular basis. On the other hand, its weaker areas include institutions and skill levels. He also accuses a relatively low score for entrepreneurial culture, due to a high risk aversion, little creativity and limited critical thinking.

The other countries in the top-10 are:
  • 6. Netherlands;
  • 7. Hong Kong;
  • 8. United Kingdom;
  • 9. Sweden;
  • 10. Denmark.

The least competitive countries

The 10 least competitive economies in the world are:

  •      Chad;
  •      Yemen;
  •      Haiti;
  •      Angola;
  •      Burundi;
  •      Congo;
  •      Sierra Leone;
  •      Mozambique;
  •      Liberia;
  •      Mauritania.