The importance of country competitiveness
BY JAIME AUGUSTO ZOBEL DE AYALA
Countries, like companies, compete. Nations compete for investments, trade, trade in services, and tourists. This focus on national competitiveness has been increasingly reinforced by global competitiveness rankings published, on a regular basis, by a variety of institutions. These are comprehensive reports that benchmark our performance and attractiveness as a nation state in the economic sphere.
Global rankings are important for two reasons. First, they are a set of diagnostic tools which highlight the strengths we can build on, as well as the challenges that must be overcome, in order to become more globally competitive.
Second, investors pay close attention to the indicators and use the information to assess country standings across a variety of metrics.
While the Philippines has not ranked favorably in many of these surveys, it is encouraging to see a significant improvement. In the latest World Economic Forum report, the Philippines moved up 10 places: from 85th (of 139) in 2010 to 75th out of 142 countries in 2011. This is one of the largest jumps recorded by a country in worldwide.
In Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, we also moved up 5 positions to 129th compared to the prior year. However, we slipped by 2 positions to 136th in IFC’s Doing Business Report.
Our top 3 immediate challenges, as defined by the surveys, are in the areas of Corruption, Inefficient Government Bureaucracy, and Inadequate Infrastructure. Our longer term challenges lie in the area of Education, Science and Technology, and Innovation. Drivers
Let me highlight four important drivers.
Firm-level competitiveness. While a trusted and efficient economic system, with stable institutions and strong political, legal, and social frameworks underpin the success of an economy, they are not by themselves sufficient to sustain...