Mauritius climbs to impressive 39th in WEF’s Global Competitiveness Rankings
Mauritius is the region’s best performing economy, followed by South Africa, to rank 39th and 56th respectively, making them the African continent’s top performers and coming in above the Southeast Asian and emerging market economies of Brazil and India.(Image: KPMG Africa)
Mauritius and South Africa are the only two African countries that are in the world top ranked while other countries demonstrated little improvement in terms of competitiveness, given that the fastest growing Africa countries have a majority of their populations engaged in low productivity sectors, says the World Economic Forum’s African Competiveness Report 2015.
Mauritius at 39th, replacing South Africa two years ago, has made impressive strides toward improved competitiveness on the back of the wide-ranging structural reforms that began in 2006 and this improvement has been particularly visible in its creation of an enabling environment in its financial, goods, and labor markets.
There is regional divergence in competitiveness across the continent in the areas of infrastructure and health and primary education as well as financial and macroeconomic performance, as captured in findings such as the placement of Mauritius at 39th rank while Guinea, at 144th, is the lowest-ranked country out of all assessed.
Competitiveness depends more on higher education and training (pillar 5), an efficient goods and services market (pillar 6), frictionless labor markets (pillar 7), developed financial markets (pillar 8), the ability to make use of latest technological developments (pillar 9), and the size of the domestic and foreign markets available to the country’s companies (pillar 10).
Finally, as countries move into the third, innovation-driven stage, they are able to sustain higher wages and the associated level of productivity only if their businesses are able to compete with new and unique products.
At this stage, companies must compete by producing new and different goods or services using the most sophisticated management methods (pillar 11) and innovation (pillar 12).
Along with Seychelles, Mauritius is currently transitioning to the innovation-driven stage and to increase their competitiveness, skilled workforce and a business environment that is supportive for innovation and adaptive to new technologies are important.
Challenges that the report highlights for Mauritius and Tunisia are the mismatch between the education system and the needs of employers.
In particular, increasing competition in ICT markets will be vital for increasing affordability, improving the provision of services, and accelerating uptake and regional leaders such as Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria in the list.
In conclusion, trade in services is a critical component of countries’ overall trade strategies and as technological advances have facilitated the growth of service tradability, countries are beginning to capitalize on these new opportunities. Mauritius is a strong example of seizing this potential, given that services also help to increase the competitiveness and performance of other economic sectors.