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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Global Competitiveness Report ranks Mauritius as first in Sub-Saharan Africa

Global Competitiveness Report ranks Mauritius as first in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mauritius surpassed South Africa by a solid 17 places and also outstripped Rwanda which was ranked 62nd, on the Global Competitiveness Report published last week by the World Economic Forum (Image: KPMG Africa)

Mauritius came first in Sub-Saharan Africa yet again on the Global Competitiveness Report published last week by the World Economic Forum, proving once more the competitive edge of the island nation in the regional economy.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15 published by the World Economic Forum on September 03, 2014 pointed out that Mauritius has continued its steady upward climb this year, moving up by six positions to 39th place and thus consolidating its lead in the region.

With Mauritius surpassing South Africa by a solid 17 places and also outstripping Rwanda which was ranked 62nd, the report attributed the country`s progress to the gradual improvements of seven pillars out of the 12 pillars used in the ranking, namely: institutions, infrastructure, health and primary education, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development and business sophistication.

Overall, the country’s relatively strong and transparent public institutions were ranked 36th, with clear property rights, strong judicial independence, and an efficient government ranked 26th.

Private institutions are rated as highly accountable and were ranked 14th, with effective auditing and accounting standards and strong investor protection ranked at 12th position.

The country’s transport infrastructure is well developed by regional standards and was ranked 42nd, especially in terms of ports, air transport, and roads. In addition, the country this year also records improvements in its electricity and telephony infrastructure, at 44th rank.

Furthermore, the country’s wide-ranging structural reforms that have taken place since 2006 are bearing fruit, as evidenced by its continuous improvements in the areas of market efficiency: financial markets are comparatively deep and ranked 26th, its efficient goods market, ranked 25th, is characterized by enabling conditions for both domestic and foreign competition, and its labor market efficiency though ranked a lowly 52nd, has been improving steadily, thanks to increased flexibility which was ranked a high 18th.

Going forward, as income per capita rises and Mauritius moves up the value chain, more effort will be needed to develop its human capital.

Although rising enrollment rates, particularly tertiary enrollment, are laudable at 40.32% in 2012, and its overall score in the quality of education has been improving, other countries are moving even faster.

Improving competitiveness will require additional efforts not only to improve higher education and training which was ranked at 54th place but also to mobilize the country’s talent more efficiently whose actual rank is 101st, as evidenced by the low share of women in the labor force, ranked 115th .

For the region overall, the report states that Sub-Saharan Africa continues to register impressive growth rates close to 5%.

Maintaining the momentum will require the region to move towards more productive activities and address the persistent competitiveness challenges, it further points out.

The biggest challenge facing the region is that of human and physical infrastructure issues, which continue to hamper capacity and affect its ability to enter higher value added markets, said the report.

Globally, the top 10 countries are Switzerland, Singapore, United States, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sweden, in the same order.

On the subject of the world economy, the report emphasizes innovation and skills as the key drivers of economic growth.

While these increasingly influence competitiveness as the global economy tentatively recovers from the economic crisis, significant risks remain, resulting from a strained geopolitical situation, rising income inequality and the potential tightening of financial conditions.

The report finally proposes that it is crucial to address these structural challenges to ensure more sustainable and inclusive growth and more than ever, cooperative leadership among business, government and civil society is needed to re-establish sustainable growth and raise living standards throughout the world.

About the Global Competitiveness Report:

The Global Competitiveness Report is calculated through the Global Competitiveness index and assesses the competitiveness landscape of economies worldwide.

This year’s report provides insights into the drivers of the productivity and prosperity of 144 countries based on 12 pillars of competitiveness.

These are: institutions, innovation, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.

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