Qatar has been named the most competitive country in the Gulf in new rankings published by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). The Swiss-based organization placed Qatar 10th out of a total of 59 economies covered in its World Competitiveness Yearbook.
Although the Gulf state fell two places compared to last year, it still retained its place as the top Gulf country.
The UAE was placed 16th in this year’s list and was one of the biggest climbers, up 12 places compared to the 2011 list.
The global rankings were headed by Hong Kong, with the US, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden completing the top five.
The least competitive economies were named as Venezuela, Greece, which is currently at the centre of the euro zone crisis, and Croatia.
IMD said the rankings measured how well countries manage their economic and human resources to increase their prosperity.
Despite all its setbacks, the US remains at the centre of world competitiveness because of its unique economic power, the dynamism of its enterprises and its capacity for innovation, IMD added.
Professor Stephane Garelli, director of IMD’s World Competitiveness Centre, said: “US competitiveness has a deep impact on the rest of the world because it is uniquely interacting with every economy, advanced or emerging. No other nation can exercise such a strong pull effect on the world.
“Europe is burdened with austerity and fragmented political leadership and is hardly a credible substitute, while a South-South bloc of emerging markets is still a work in progress. In the end, if the US competes, the world succeeds.”
IMD said emerging economies were not yet immune to turmoil elsewhere. China (23), India (35) and Brazil (46) all slipped in the rankings, while Russia (48) climbed only one place.
Globalization is still seen as a positive development in Ireland, Scandinavia, Chile, the UAE and many Asian economies.
But attitudes are much more negative in Greece, Russia, most of Eastern Europe, a growing part of Latin America, and, last of all, in France, the IMD added.
It said attitudes toward reforms were more positive in Ireland, emerging Asia, Qatar and the UAE, Switzerland and Sweden.
But the impetus for reform is much weaker in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Spain, and France, where austerity is seen as a cure worse than the disease.
“The recession has made the world economy more fragmented and diverse than ever, forcing companies to operate several parallel business models,” said Garelli.
“Emerging economies are relying on domestic demand and national champion companies to insulate themselves from economic turmoil, while the ‘submerging’ developed economies are turning to re-industrialization. In both cases, economic nationalism is back and protectionism is tempting.”