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Brand South Africa, South Africa’s marketing company, on Wednesday expressed concern over the country’s decline in the 2017-2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (WEF GCI) released on the same day.

South Africa dropped 14 places in overall rankings and is 61 out of 137 economies assessed in the annual survey. Brand South Africa’s CEO, Kingsley Makhubela said the drop in rankings should be a wake up call to the nation to do something.

“It is also concerning that the financial sector has been affected by uncertainty as can be seen in the dramatic drop in performance in this indicator, while historically low levels of business confidence have now clearly impacted on the competitiveness profile of the Nation Brand. We note decreasing competitiveness in institutions, macro-economic environment, goods and market efficiency, and financial market development. Meaning that both government and the private sector should take heed of the deteriorating competitiveness indicators,” said Makhubela.

WEF stated that corruption, crime and theft, and government instability are the reasons for the drop in rankings. They also mentioned poor work ethic in the national labor force, inadequately educated workforce, inflation, access to financing, and policy instability. WEF also said the country has inefficient government bureaucracy, restrictive labor regulations which affected the rankings.

Brands South Africa noted that it’s not all doom and gloom as the country did well in some other rankings. For example, South Africa is the most ranked in innovation in the region and one of the most competitive countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Makhubela said, “While we note the over-all drop in competitiveness of the South African economy, the country improved on labour market efficiency by four positions (93/137), infrastructure improved with three positions (61/137), and health and primary education with two positions (121/137).”

Makhubela said, “This means that all is not lost, however, as a nation there are several lessons to take from the WEF report indicators. As an open and transparent democratic system, leaders and public officials have to work much harder on maintaining high ethical standards in their conduct especially as it pertains to the fight against corruption and wastefulness in the public sector. Having said that, the private sector, especially in the financial sector, should pay attention to the drop in performance in the sector’s competitiveness.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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