UPDATED: Much to celebrate as key African nations make big climbs, reverse declines in latest WEF Competitiveness Index

The usual African suspects were among the top performers. Both Egypt and South Africa get notable mentions for reversing downward trends.

THE MOST comprehensive annual assessment of national competitiveness worldwide has been released. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. 

This year there is a lot for some African nations to celebrate.

Although the continent’s star performer, Mauritius, experienced a halt in its decade-long improvement and fell seven places to 46th, there were plenty of other African countries hot on its heels with some impressive climbs due to improvements.  

Rwanda is continuing its five-year upward trend, placing 58th. It has improved in business sophistication and financial markets, with confidence increased by improved regulation of securities exchanges and the degree to which collateral and bankruptcy laws protect the rights of borrowers and lenders. The country benefits from strong public and private institutions and efficient markets: a flexible labor market and high female participation in the labor force help Rwanda to rank 8th overall in labour market efficiency.  

Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, also showed an upward trend, improving by three positions to 124th. This was in part attributed to improvements in property rights, the efficiency of the legal framework to settle and challenge disputes, and the accountability of the private sector in lifting the country’s institutions. 

Both Egypt and South Africa get notable mentions for reversing downward trends.  

In Egypt’s case, this is the first time the country has moved up rankings since the Arab Spring. This reflects a more positive assessment of the country’s institutions, in particular higher levels of physical security, a more efficient judiciary in settling business disputes, and better protection of property rights. 

Smaller improvements are registered on the macroeconomic environment and financial market development. The upward movement also reflects recent reforms, including a reduction of energy subsidies, tax reforms, and a strengthened business environment, as well as greater political stability after years of turmoil. 

South Africa has dramatically reversed its four years downward trend, quickly catching up to Mauritius, and climbing seven places to reach 49th. This was attributed largely to the increased uptake of ICTs and improvements in innovation. 

This country also hosts the continent’s most efficient financial market and benefits from a sound goods market, which is driven by strong domestic competition and an efficient transport infrastructure. It further benefits from strong institutions, particularly property rights and a robust and independent legal framework.

-Corrects errors in the original story “South Africa slipping, while Kenya, Mauritius, and Ghana climb high in latest WEF Competitiveness Index”. There was a confusion between some 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 data. We apologise for the mistake.

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