• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss economy ranked world's most competitive

AFP · 5 Sep 2012, 09:16

Published: 05 Sep 2012 09:16 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Singapore maintained its second place, while Finland came in third, bumping Sweden to fourth place, followed by the Netherlands and Germany, according to the organisation which hosts the annual Davos pow-wow of business and political leaders.

"Switzerland earns the top spot in innovation, owing to the excellence of its education system, the high company spending on R&D (research and
development), and the strong collaboration between the academic world and the business sector," the WEF enthused in its Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.

Switzerland, which topped the ranking for the fourth year running, was also lauded in several other areas, including as the world-leader in labour market efficiency, and for having one of the most stable macroeconomic environments in the world.

But the picture was not quite so bright for a number of other European countries and the United States.

While European countries, especially in the north, continue to dominate the list of the world's 10 most competitive nations, those in the southern part of the continent dipped further down the list.

Crisis-hit Greece, for instance, slipped to 96th place out of the 144 countries ranked, from 90th last year, while Portugal dropped to 49th from
45th place and Spain held its ground at 36th.

France also fell off the top 20 list, dropping to 21st place from 18th last year and 15th in 2010.

While WEF economist Thierry Geiger told AFP this small but negative trend in was worrying because it reflected a significant drop in French government efficiency in the past couple of years, as well as in the macroeconomic environment and especially labour market efficiency.

The United States, which just five years ago topped the WEF ranking, also continued its decline, falling to seventh place from fifth last year.

WEF senior economist Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz stressed that the United States "still has one of the most sophisticated business environments in the world."

Story continues below…

However, she told AFP, the country is facing large "macroeconomic vulnerabilities", including the rising deficit, and at the same time severe political deadlock and a dwindling trust in politicians.

"This results in an inability to address some of the major problems they're facing," she said, stressing that the politician fatigue was directed at both
of the country's main political parties.

The WEF report was based on publicly available data and a survey of 15,000 business leaders in 144 countries.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP file picture

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf, marking one of the first such rulings in Switzerland, media reported Sunday.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available