Colombia fell by three spots in this year’s global economic competitiveness rankings from the World Economic Forum, which this year refocused its attention to highlight issues related to the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” being ushered into the world by digital innovations.
Despite the drop — from 57th in 2017 to 60th this year — the Andean nation’s overall score in the Global Competitiveness Report was largely unchanged, actually increasing by 0.1 points, to 61.6, on a scale that rated 140 different economies on a point scale of 1 to 100.
This was slightly above the average score of 60.0 but well behind the top five economies, which were the United States (85.6), Singapore (83.5), Germany (82.8), Switzerland (82.6), and Japan (82.5)
Moreover, despite the slight dip in the rankings following its best-ever position last year, Colombia’s ranking of 60th overall still represents an improvement compared to its historical standing. In 2009, for example, Colombia ranked 74th, and it sat at 69th as recently as 2014.
In Latin America, Colombia ranked fifth this year, following Chile (ranked 33rd), Mexico (46th), Uruguay (53rd), and Costa Rica (56th). It outpaced peers including Peru (63rd), Panama (64th), Brazil (72nd), Argentina (82nd), and Ecuador (86th).
Looking at the wider breakdown of the economy, Colombia continues to lag in technological areas, including “innovation capability” and “ICT adoption,” where it ranked 73rd and 84th overall, respectively. Poor results in these categories position the country in a particularly undesirable place for the future, according to a study that is increasingly touting the need for digital progress.
“The index integrates well-established aspects with new and emerging levers that drive productivity and growth,” stated the World Economic Forum. “It emphasizes the role of human capital, innovation, resilience, and agility as not only drivers but also defining features of economic success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Other trouble ares holding back the country’s competitiveness are its institutions (89th overall), infrastructure (843rd), labor market (80th), and “skills” (80th). “Weak institutions — defined as including security, property rights, social capital, checks and balances, transparency and ethics, public-sector performance, and corporate governance — continue to hinder competitiveness, development, and well-being in many countries,” stated the report.
In line with its international reputation, security remains one of the other largest hurdles for Colombia as well, according to the study. While the global average score in this category is 72 — with half of all nations scoring 75 or higher — Colombia came in at just 43.5. This was comparable, but still worse, than the two other larger countries in the region, Brazil (which scored 45.8) and Mexico (46.0).
“Across all countries, the relationship between the prevalence of organized crime and the perceived reliability of the police is strikingly close,” states the study.
On the positive side, Colombia ranks very well in terms of health (35th) and market size (37th). Both business dynamism (49th) and macro-economic stability (58th) also come in as strengths.
When it comes to sub-categories, the nation also stands out for its budget transparency (4th), conflict of interest regulation (11th), airport connectivity (31st), internal labor mobility (33rd), and the soundness of its banks (35th).
By contrast, there needs to be improvement made when it comes to organized crime (135th), judicial independence (112th), hiring and firing practices (109th), buyer sophistication (95th), and property rights (94th), according to the World Economic Forum.
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