Gambia Moves up, Now 117th among World’s Competitive Economies – Report

President Adama Barrow of the Republic of the Gambia addresses the General Assembly’s annual general debate. UN Photo/Cia Pak

The latest edition of the Global Competitiveness Report, an annual ranking of 137 economies based on data from international institutions, moved the Gambia up from the No. 117 position. Switzerland, the United States, and Singapore are the top three most competitive economies in the world.

The Gambia is now 117th out of the 137 economies the ranking covers; it occupied the 123rd position in last year’s ranking report. On the scale of 7, the country also improved from 3.5 in 2016-17 to 3.6 in the 2017-18 reports. This is the first time the country’s ranking has gone up since 2014. In 2012, the country ranked 98 out of 144 countries with 3.8 scores.

The report, however, indicated that the country’s macroeconomic conditions are worsened, having gone 2 step-downward to the 135th position; third to last. The Government debt to GDP is 116.1% with annual inflation change of 7.2%. With a population of 2 million people and GDP of about $1 billion, the report ranked Gambia at 136th out of 137 on the Market size pillar.

Labour market efficiency in the Gambia appears to be best score for the country with a ranking of 31 out the 137 countries mainly due to the flexibility of wage determination, the report stated. Furthermore, the Gambia is the 10th best country in the world with less burden of government regulation. These burdens include permits, regulations, and reporting requirement.

The country’s poor rank in innovation was mainly due to two factors: university-company collaboration in research and development (135/137) and companies’ failure to spend on R&D (129/137).

“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,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

From the WEF ranking, The Gambia’s competitiveness is a little better than a few West African countries like Guinea (119th), Benin (120th), Nigeria (125th), Sierra Leone (130th), and Liberia (134th), while other West African countries like Senegal (106th), Cameroon (116th), Ghana (111th) are better off than Gambia.

On average, sub-Saharan Africa’s competitiveness has not changed significantly over the past decade. Leading the ranking in the region come Mauritius (45), Rwanda (58), South Africa (61) and Botswana (63). In general, Africa is still being penalized by its macroeconomic environment, the reported stated. Africa’s financial markets and infrastructures remain underdeveloped, and institutions’ improvement process hit a setback this year as political uncertainty is growing in key countries.

“Countries must establish an environment that enables citizens and businesses to create, develop and implement new ideas that will allow them to progress and grow,” said Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics at Columbia University.

About the Global Competitiveness Report

The Global Competitiveness Report competitiveness ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which was introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2005. Defining competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country, GCI scores are calculated by drawing together country-level data covering 12 categories – the pillars of competitiveness – that collectively make up a comprehensive picture of a country’s competitiveness. The 12 pillars are institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

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