South Africa is once again in the top 50, reversing a four-year sliding trend with an impressive seven-place jump, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2015/16 report has said. This put it right behind Rwanda in the rankings for countries on the continent.
“Much of the progress can be attributed to a 16-place jump in one of our ‘efficiency enhancer’ pillars, Technological Readiness, where the country jumps from 66 to 50,” read the World Economic Forum’s report.
The report also said efficiency in the labour market had improved (107th, up from 113th in 2014), although it still presents large areas for concern, including key sub-indicators cooperation in labour-employer relations, flexibility of wage determination, hiring and firing practices and linkage between pay and productivity.
However, the country also experienced a slump in six of WEF’s 12 pillars.
“Its institutions, always a strong point, dropped two places to 38th with highly sophisticated financial market also dropping from seven to 12th, although it remains by far the most developed in Africa,” read the report.
Africa’s most developed economy also ranked bottom in its education system.
“The country’s education challenges persist, also: it ranks bottom in the world (140) once again for the quality of its maths and science education according to our index and 138th for the quality of its education system.”
A low ranking of 119 for internet access in schools also leaves a lot of room for improvement.
The report also shows worrying signs that a ‘new normal’ of suppressed economic and productivity growth and persistently high unemployment is damaging resilience leaving the world vulnerable to another protracted slump.
“Growth is expected to remain below the levels recorded in previous decades in most developed economies and in many emerging markets,” said the report.
“Growth prospects could still be derailed by the uncertainty fuelled by a slowdown in emerging markets, geopolitical tensions and conflicts around the world, as well as by the unfolding humanitarian crisis.”
The report said rapid diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) giving rise to new business models and revolutionizing industries— bear great promise for a future wave of innovations that could drive longer-term growth.