Report: Qatar, UAE, Saudi economies most competitive in MENA region

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The economies of Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia are the most competitive in the Arab world and are among the 20 most competitive globally, according to The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 released on Tuesday.

Innovation and strong institutional environments were reported as increasingly influencing the competitiveness of states’ economies worldwide.

Qatar (13th) tops the Middle East and North Africa ranking, while the United Arab Emirates (19th) entered the top 20 for the first time. Saudi Arabia (20th) falls two places but remains among the top 20.

Israel is ranked 27th. Egypt (118th) drops a further 11 places on last year’s index. Bahrain (43rd), Jordan (68th) and Morocco (77th) also decline. Elsewhere in the region, Algeria moves up to 100th place and Tunisia re-enters the index at 83rd.

Switzerland came at the top of the worldwide ranking for the fifth consecutive year . Singapore and Finland remain in second and third ranks respectively. Germany moves up two places (4th) and the United States reverses a four-year downward trend, climbing two places to fifth.

Hong Kong SAR (7th) and Japan (9th) also close the gap on the most competitive economies, while Sweden (6th), the Netherlands (8th) and the United Kingdom (10th) fall, according to the report.

“The United States continues to be a world leader in bringing innovative products and services to market. Its rise in the ranking is down to a perceived improvement in the country’s financial market as well as greater confidence in its public institutions,” the report stated.

“However, serious concerns persist over its macroeconomic stability, which ranks 117 out of 148 economies,” the report added.

In Europe, the report said that efforts to deal with public debt and avoid a break-up of the euro “have taken the focus off addressing deeper competitiveness issues.”

“Some of the world’s largest emerging market economies must also engage business, government and civil society to implement long-overdue reforms,” the report said.

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