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Singapore ranks 2nd in updated Global Competitiveness Index

Media: The Business Times

JANICE HENG

janiceh@sph.com.sg

@JaniceHengBT


Singapore ranks second out of 140 economies in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 4.0, an updated version of the annual ranking.

With a score of 83.5 out of a possible 100 in the ranking released on Wednesday, Singapore came in behind only the United States; the Republic was ranked third in last year's Global Competitiveness Index.

Switzerland, ranked top in 2017, is fourth in the latest index.

The countries in this year's top 10 remain nearly the same as last year's, though with some shuffling of places, and Denmark having replaced Finland.

The WEF cited Singapore's openness as its defining feature and noted that it ranked first for infrastructure - one of the index's 12 pillars - with a near-perfect score of 95.7.

The index was updated in light of the ongoing effects of the 2008 recession and the gathering pace of the fourth Industrial Revolution, said the WEF.

The 2008 recession showed that financial crises can have long-lasting effects on productivity, while the fourth Industrial Revolution has accelerated the innovation cycle and the rate of obsolescence.

To respond to these challenges, successful economies must be resilient, be agile, build an innovation ecosystem and take a human-centric approach, said the WEF.

The ranking's methodology has been updated to reflect these priorities. Even though many of the latest index's 12 pillars appear broadly similar to those in the previous version, the specific indicators used have changed.

Of 98 indicators, 34 were retained from the previous methodology; the remaining 64 are new.

The concept of resilience is reflected in the "Financial system" pillar, for instance, which includes new indicators that were not in the previous "Financial market development" pillar, such as non-performing loans.

In the "Macroeconomic stability" pillar, a new "Debt dynamics" indicator seeks to assess a country's sustainability of public finance, computed using four variables: debt-to-GDP levels, projected change in debt, country credit ratings, and the country's development status.

The "Higher education and training" pillar has been replaced by "Skills", with new indicators such as digital skills among the active population, skill sets of graduates and ease of finding skilled employees.

The updated methodology has helped to flag room for improvement even in the most competitive economies.

The WEF notes, for example, that while Singapore is the most "future-ready" economy, it trails Sweden in having a digitally skilled workforce.