Domestic business confidence rose in September off 34-year lows, while South Africa’s ‘competitiveness’ ranking by the World Economic Forum also moved up a few notches. While this is surely welcome, both data sets come off such low thresholds that improvements hardly signal a significant turnaround.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its 2019 Global Competitiveness Index that looks broadly at how competitive an economy is through the prism of 12 pillars: institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.
Given all the current angst over policy inertia and uncertainty, political infighting within the ANC, anaemic growth, rising debt and a 29% unemployment rate, it came as something of a surprise that South Africa’s ranking improved, from 67th overall last year to 60 out of the 141 economies surveyed in 2019.
It will be no surprise if President Cyril Ramaphosa mentions this in his weekly newsletter next Monday. He did promise in his State of the Nation Address that South Africa would work on improving its rankings in such areas.
Of the 12 pillars, South Africa’s overall best ranking, at 19, was its financial system, which…