Saudi Arabia continues to fall on competitiveness index

28 September 2017

Iran was the strongest gainer, climbing seven places to 69

Saudi Arabia has continued to slide down the rankings in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, which benchmarks 137 countries worldwide. The kingdom has fallen one place to 30 in the 2017/18 table, following on from a four-position drop in the 2016/17 edition.

One of the economic objectives set out in Riyadh’s Vision 2030 strategy published in April 2016 is to rank among the top 10 in the Global Competitiveness Index by 2030. Previously, Saudi Arabia set itself the same target to achieve by 2010, but failed in its mission.

The biggest drops among Middle Eastern countries in the latest edition of the Global Competitiveness Index were seen by Kuwait and Qatar. Kuwait crashed 14 places to 52, while Qatar slipped seven spots to 25. The UAE sits at 17, having lost one place.

Iran was the strongest gainer, climbing seven places to 69. Bahrain and Oman both moved up four places, to 44 and 62 respectively.

Outside the Gulf states, Morocco fell one place to 71, Lebanon dropped from 101 to 105, and Jordan moved down to 65 from 63.

Algeria inched up from 87 to 86, while Egypt rose up five places to 100. Tunisia was unchanged at 95. Yemen sits last in the index at 137. Iraq, Libya and Syria are not included in the ranking.

Switzerland held onto its position at the top of the table, but the US leapfrogged Singapore to take second place.

The 2016/17 edition of the report highlighted that the state remains the dominant player in most economies in the Middle East region and says that for the oil-exporters investment in innovation, technological readiness, health and primary education must go hand in hand with diversification away from the energy sector. It singled out the UAE’s achievements in this area.

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