South Africa: Reforms Help SA Move Up On Global Competitiveness Index

Structural reforms have ensured that South Africa move up seven places in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual Global Competitiveness Index, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"That we have been able to improve our ranking so remarkably and within a relatively short period of time, is a welcome sign that the structural reforms put in place to stimulate the economy, and promote recovery are slowly but surely gaining traction," said the President on Thursday.

South Africa now ranks 60th out of 141 economies assessed in the annual survey published on Wednesday.

The 2019 report provides an annual assessment of the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth.

The assessment is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars.

The report notes that the country has registered 'remarkable progress' with regards to institutional quality, such as the restored balance of powers across different state entities; enhanced administrative efficiency of the public sector, and corporate governance.

South Africa also achieved a score of 100 for its 'well developed equity, insurance and credit markets.' It also ranked 19th globally as a financial hub.

The report also scores the country highly for having "one of the most advanced transport infrastructures in the region" (a ranking of 45th) and for market size (a ranking of 35th).

The report ranks the respective economies under a range of socio-economic indicators such as strength of institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, financial systems, macroeconomic stability and business dynamism.

"Whilst we note there are areas for improvement, this improved ranking gives us added impetus to remain firmly on course with our economic reform agenda," said President Ramaphosa who welcomed the report.

The report flagged security and insufficient labour market flexibility as one of the main restraints to South Africa's competitiveness.

South Africa, said President Ramaphosa is also looking forward to the release of the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index later this year.

South Africa commenced work to realise its objective to be ranked amongst the Top 50 countries on this index by improving indicators such as starting a business; registering property; dealing with construction permits; paying taxes; and trading across borders.

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