Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Jamaica dips in competitiveness rankings

Published:Friday | October 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica slid one spot in the ranking on the Global Competitiveness Index to 79 among 140 nations, despite an improvement in its score.

The United States topped the list for the first time in years, followed by Singapore, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, according to the competitiveness report published by the World Economic Forum, or Weforum.

Jamaica also relinquished the title as the most competitive nation in the Caribbean to Trinidad & Tobago which ranked 78.

Jamaica's slide in the rankings comes after six consecutive years of improvement. Notwith-standing, Jamaica's score rose to 57.9 from 57.4 points a year earlier, but that's still below the world average.

"Globally, the median score is 60.0," stated the authors of the Global Competitiveness Report.

"Between the US at 85.6 points ranked at No. 1 and Chad at 35.5 points or 140th in the world, there is a wide range of performance across regions and countries," the report noted.

New milestone

Weforum said the 2018 edition of the report represented a milestone in its four-decade history, due to the introduction of the new Global Competitiveness Index 4.0.

"The new index sheds light on an emerging set of drivers of productivity and long-term growth in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It provides a much-needed compass for policymakers and other stakeholders to help shape economic strategies and monitor progress," Weforum said.

Jamaica's most competitive element was its inflation rate, which tied with others at the top of that subranking. The report put the inflation rate over the 12-month period under review at 3.4 per cent. There were 74 nations in the world tied for best inflation rate.

The overall ranking for competitiveness is based on 12 main pillars. Jamaica's best pillars included its labour market at 27 and business dynamism at 32. The most problematic areas were its market size which received a subrank of 123 due to relatively low GDP; macroeconomic stability at 97 due to debt dynamics; institutions at 82 which included homicide and organised crime.

Fourth revolution

Jamaica also ranked at 6th in the world on freedom of the press, a category led by Norway. The report ranked competitiveness for 140 nations versus 135, a year earlier.

The report's publishers indicated that in the midst of rapid technological change, political polarisation and a fragile economic recovery, it is critical that countries define, assess and implement new pathways to growth and prosperity.

The report added a new dimension which seeks to take into account what it calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR. This is the adoption of emerging technologies which automate otherwise manual or manufactured processes, or combine separate fields such as biology and physics or computing to produce goods and services.

Jamaica's performance has see-sawed over a 10-year span of competitiveness reports. Its lowest ranking was 107 in 2012; its best was 67 in 2007.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com