Nigeria trails in world rankings at 127th position
By Nsikan Ikpe
Enduring political stability and strong and competitive economic policies are some of the most important reasons that account for why the tiny archipelago of Mauritius has once again been ranked as the most competitive country in Africa, The Difference checks have revealed.
The island-state which is located off the Southern African tip is followed by South Africa, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2016-17 rankings.
On the global scale, the country is also ranked as the 45th most economically competitive country out of 138 countries considered globally, improving one position from the previous report.
Pieter du Preez, Analyst at NKC African Economics, said: “Mauritius overtook South Africa as the continent’s most competitive economy in the 2013-14 GCI, and consolidated its lead in the region during the last couple of years.”
“Most of the 20 lowest-ranked countries in the GCI are in sub-Saharan Africa, and the region’s competitiveness has slightly weakened year on year, mainly because of deteriorating macroeconomic environments in the region. In turn, the region showed improvements in relation to business environments, information and communication technologies, and infrastructure,” he said.
“However, these improvements have been insufficient to improve overall productivity levels. Finally, it is also of concern that two of the biggest economies in Africa, namely Nigeria and Egypt, are ranked near the bottom of the pile, with rankings of 127th and 115th, respectively,” he added.
According to the report, the most competitive country in the sample is Switzerland, while the least competitive country is Yemen.
The GCI consists of 12 pillars, which are organised into three sub-indices, namely the: Basic requirements sub-index groups those pillars most critical for countries in the factor-driven stage of economic development (institutions, infrastructure, macro economy, health and primary education); Efficiency enhancers sub-index includes pillars critical for countries in the efficiency-driven stage of development (higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size); and Innovation and sophistication factors sub-index includes all pillars critical to countries in the innovation-driven stage (business sophistication, innovation).
The report notes that Mauritius benefits from relatively strong and transparent public institutions, with clear property rights, strong judicial independence, and an efficient government.
Private institutions are rated as highly accountable, with effective auditing and accounting standards, and strong investor protection.
Furthermore, according to the report, wide-ranging structural reforms that have taken place since 2006 are bearing fruit, as evidenced by continuous improvements in the area of market efficiency.
The report notes that South Africa, which climbed two spots in the latest rankings (47th), is still the “regional leader in terms of financial markets, competition, infrastructure, and education, despite recent challenges from exchange rate volatility, governance concerns, and policy uncertainty, as reflected in the Institutions pillar”.
Rwanda and Botswana, two of the top African countries, were also the best performers in the latest GCI rankings.
Botswana improved seven spots (64th), with better performances in infrastructure, higher education, and goods market efficiency.
Rwanda jumped six places (52nd), and Ghana five places (114th), mainly driven by a strengthened macroeconomic environment, improvements in infrastructure, education, and institutions.
Sierra Leone’s five-places improvement (132nd) is mainly due to recovering health conditions and infrastructure.
In turn, the most noticeable decline in the rankings came from Zambia, which dropped 22 places (118th).
The decline is mainly driven by difficulties in public finance, a weaker performance in institutions infrastructure, and a slump in goods market efficiency.
The country has been affected this year by uncertainty regarding the recent general election, power shortages and low copper prices.
Ivory Coast slid eight spots (99th), which reflects the growing terrorism concerns after the Grand-Bassam shooting in March, concern about institutions, and political uncertainty with regard to elections.
President Ameenah Gurib of Mauritus