Nigeria only managed to move up two notches to “improve” its ranking on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) for 2017-2018 to 125th position, out of the 137 countries ranked. But the World Economic Forum, WEF, in the latest Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) on Tuesday stressed that Nigeria recorded the slight improvement “only because other countries are deteriorating faster.”
This implied that the measures reportedly adopted by the Nigerian government to improve ease of doing business were yet to make a meaningful impact. In fact, World Economic Forum, WEF, noted that Nigeria “has failed to increase its overall score since 2012.” It listed some of the challenges hindering the country’s improvement on the index to include its macroeconomic environment (down 14 to 122) and institutional strength (down 7 to 125). Others considered as barriers in the face of efforts to kick-start economic recovery included poor infrastructure (132) and Health and Primary Education (136).
Regrettably, Nigeria only managed to perform better on the GCI than war-torn or economically depressed countries such as Congo Democratic Republic (126), Venezuela (127), Haiti (128), Burundi (129), Sierra Leone (130), Lesotho (131), Malawi (132), Mauritania (133), Liberia (134), Chad (135), Mozambique (136), and Yemen (137).
Also, Nigeria was not among the top 10 ranked countries in Africa.
According to the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) report, Mauritius (45), Rwanda (58), South Africa (61), Botswana (63), Namibia (90), Kenya (91), Senegal (106), Seychelles (107), Ethiopia (108) and Cape Verde, were the top 10 countries in the latest GCI.
“Competitiveness is stalling across sub-Saharan Africa: In fact since only Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda have managed to improve performance consecutively for five years since 2010,” it stated.
The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) report pointed out that 10 years on from the global financial situation, the prospects for a sustained economic recovery remains at risk due to a widespread failure on the part of leaders and policymakers to put in place reforms necessary to underpin competitiveness and bring about much-needed increases in productivity
For the ninth consecutive year, the report found Switzerland to be the world’s most competitive economy, narrowly ahead of the United States and Singapore.
Other G20 economies in the top 10 were Germany (5), the United Kingdom (8) and Japan (9).
China was the highest ranking among the BRICS group of large emerging markets, moving up one rank to 27.
Drawing on data going back 10 years, the report highlighted in particular three areas of greatest concern. These included the financial system, where levels of “soundness” were yet to recover from the shock of 2007 and in some parts of the world are declining further.
This, it said was of concern given the important role the financial system will need to play in facilitating investment in innovation related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Another key finding “is that competitiveness is enhanced, not weakened, by combining degrees of flexibility within the labour force with adequate protection of workers’ rights.
“With vast numbers of jobs set to be disrupted as a result of automation and robotisation, creating conditions that can withstand economic shock and support workers through transition periods will be vital.”
Photo: World Economic Forum (WEF)
Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) data also suggested that the reason innovation often failed to ignite productivity was due to an imbalance between investments in technology and efforts to promote its adoption throughout the wider economy.
“Global competitiveness will be more and more defined by the innovative capacity of a country. Talents will become increasingly more important than capital and therefore the world is moving from the age of capitalism into the age of talentism.
“Countries preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and simultaneously strengthening their political, economic and social systems will be the winners in the competitive race of the future,” the Founder and Executive Chairman, WEF, Klaus Schwab said.
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is an annual assessment of the factors driving countries’ productivity and prosperity. Nigeria was ranked 127th on the 2016-2017 index released last year.