Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff
SANTIAGO – Chile has been ranked 33rd in the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the highest South American country to be included, according to the report released this week by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The South American country has maintained its position from 2016-2017 in the classification, which includes analysis of 137 countries over a variety of indicators. This is a long way from the 22nd place it gained in 2004-2005.
However, in the preface to the report, Richard Samans from the WEF underlines that countries should “look beyond rankings and [to] analyse the evolution of each indicator and each concept covered, identifying areas of improvement and areas where economies are lagging.”
The GCI tracks the performance of countries using 12 pillars of competitiveness in areas such as macroeconomic environment, goods market efficiency and health and primary education. These pillars are then grouped into 3 sub-indexes (basic requirements, efficiency enhancers and innovation and sophistication) which are given a different weighting in the overall score depending on the individual state of the country’s economy.
The WEF believes that although economic growth, in terms of increasing GDP, is not the ultimate goal, achieving this growth remains a precondition for improvement of human welfare. This goal of “human-centric economic progress” will create the resources for improved education, healthcare and security, among other factors.
The leading countries in the Index are Switzerland, the United States and Singapore, with scores of 5.86, 5.85 and 5.71 respectively, out of a possible 7. In comparison, Chile gained a score of 4.71. The countries closest to Chile in the ranking are Thailand (32nd), with a score of 4.72 and Spain (34th), with 4.70. Last year, Chile had a score of 4.64, indicating an improvement throughout the year despite the lack of ranking change.
In terms of individual rankings of the 12 pillars, Chile ranked highly for higher education and training (27th) and for financial market development (17th). However, it continues to lag in the other 10 pillars, most notably for innovation (52nd) and health and primary education (66th).
The report also notes the most problematic factors of doing business in each country, according to the Executive Opinion Survey 2017, also published by the WEF. In Chile, the most challenging factor was restrictive labour regulations, followed by inefficient government bureaucracy and policy instability.
The full report can be found on the World Economic Forum website.