Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) said it welcomes the release of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR), in which South Africa showed a year-on-year improvement of 4 positions to rank 50th out of a 142 countries.
BUSA said Although the slight improvement in South Africa’s overall position could be ascribed more to exogenous factors rather than internal developments, it has underlined our importance as an gateway to investment in emerging markets. Though trailing the most competitive BRICS economy by some margin – China, ranked 26th, is seen as the most competitive – South Africa retains its position as the second most competitive within this influential formation, as well as being the most competitive economy on the African continent.
“Business is particularly pleased with its contribution to this achievement, with the private sector having played a significant role in terms of the accountability of private sector institutions (on which we are ranked 3rd, globally), and keeping our financial sector healthy (for which we are ranked 4th)”. South Africa also scores relatively well in terms of its business sophistication (38th), innovation (41st) and the level of collaboration between our universities and business (26th).
“If we are to build on this platform, it is important that we build a consensus in our economy on the need to confront those areas where we do not compare well with our emerging market peers,” said BUSA. Important challenges remain especially in the sphere of job creation. These include the areas of the burden of government regulation (112th) skills development (we rank 97th on tertiary enrolment figures), labour market flexibility (we are ranked 95th), the costs of crime to the economy and the health of our workforce (in terms of which we rank 136th and 129th, respectively).
“We believe that indices of this nature provide both an important looking glass for us to scrutinise areas of potential action in helping us to achieve higher, job-rich growth, and to confirm the need for existing initiatives such as the New Growth Path process. We hope that the findings of the GCR will be put to good use by all stakeholders concerned about narrowing the inequalities and promoting prosperity for the entire economy”.