Crime Retards Economy in Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad – World Economic Forum

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Crime and theft were cited as the most problematic factors for doing business in Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in the 2008-2009 Global Competitiveness Report published by the independent World Economic Forum.

By contrast Caribbean Community (CARICOM) partner Barbados ranked inefficient government bureaucracy and Latin neighbour Colombia faced with protracted drug and leftist anti-government warfare ranked high tax rate as their number one hindrance to doing business.

Jamaica’s global competitiveness index (GCI) fell to 86 from 78 in 2007, among the 134 countries measured and Trinidad and Tobago moved down to 92 from 84 the previous year. Barbados GCI improved to 47 from 50 last year while Guyana moved up from 126 to 115.

In the report the United States tops the overall ranking in the Report 2008-2009. Switzerland is in second position followed by Denmark, Sweden and Singapore. European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following suit. The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has dropped by three places and out of the top 10, mainly attributable to a weakening of its financial markets.

The United States tops the overall ranking in GCR, that was released October 8. Switzerland is in second position followed by Denmark, Sweden and Singapore. European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following suit. The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has dropped by three places and out of the top 10, mainly attributable to a weakening of its financial markets.

The People’s Republic of China continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by four places this year and joining the top 30. All of the BRIC economies figure in the top half of the ranking, with China followed by India, Russia and Brazil.Several Asian economies perform strongly with Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, China in the top 20. In Latin America, Chile is the highest ranked country, followed by Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.

A number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are in the upper half of the rankings, led by Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Tunisia, with particular improvements noted in the Gulf States since last year. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius feature in the top half of the rankings, with several countries from the region measurably improving their competitiveness.

“Rising food and energy prices, a major international financial crisis and the related slowdown in the world’s leading economies, are confronting policy-makers with new economic management challenges. Today’s volatility underscores the importance of a competitiveness-supporting economic environment that can help national economies to weather these types of shocks in order to ensure solid economic performance going into the future,” said Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA, and co-author of the report.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the report. This year, over 12,000 business leaders were polled in a record 134 global economies. The survey is designed to capture a broad range of factors affecting an economy’s business climate. The report also includes comprehensive listings of the main strengths and weaknesses of countries, making it possible to identify key priorities for policy reform.

“In an uncertain global financial environment it is more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development. The World Economic Forum has for many years played a facilitating role in this process by providing detailed assessments of the productive potential of nations worldwide. The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 offers policy-makers and business leaders an important tool in the formulation of improved economic policies and institutional reforms,” noted Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

 

Table: The most problematic factors for doing business

 

Barbados

Guyana

Jamaica

Trinidad & Tobago

Note: From a list of 15 factors, respondents were asked to select the five most problematic for doing business in their country and to rank them between 1 (most problematic) and 5. The resulting figure show the responses weighted according to their rankings.

The most problematic factors for doing business

  • Inefficient government bureaucracy – 15.8

  • Poor work ethic in national labor force – 15.8

  • Access to financing – 15.5

  • Inflation – 12.8

  • Foreign currency regulations – 8.6

  • Restrictive labor regulations – 8.3

  • Tax rates – 6.7

  • Inadequate supply of infrastructure – 5.5

  • Tax regulations – 3.7

  • Crime and theft – 2.9

  • Inadequately educated workforce – 2.2

  • Policy instability – 0.9

  • Poor public health – 0.8

  • Corruption – 0.6

  • Government instability/coups – 0.0

  • Crime and theft – 23.5

  • Corruption – 13.0

  • Tax rates – 11.2

  • Inefficient government bureaucracy – 9.1

  • Inadequately educated workforce – 8.1

  • Tax regulations – 6.4

  • Access to financing – 6.3

  • Inflation – 6.3

  • Poor work ethic in national labor force – 5.7

  • Inadequate supply of infrastructure – 5.6

  • Policy instability – 2.5

  • Government instability/coups – 1.5

  • Foreign currency regulations – 0.6

  • Poor public health – 0.3

  • Restrictive labor regulations – 0.1

  • Crime and theft – 22.4

  • Inefficient government bureaucracy – 12.7

  • Inflation – 10.3

  • Corruption – 9.8

  • Access to financing – 8.3

  • Poor work ethic in national labor force – 8.3

  • Tax rates – 8.2

  • Inadequately educated workforce – 8.0

  • Tax regulations – 4.1

  • Restrictive labor regulations – 3.1

  • Inadequate supply of infrastructure – 3.0

  • Policy instability – 0.7

  • Government instability/coups – 0.7

  • Poor public health – 0.3

  • Foreign currency regulations – 0.1

  • Crime and theft – 21.9

  • Inflation – 15.3

  • Poor work ethic in national labor force – 14.7

  • Corruption – 13.2

  • Inefficient government bureaucracy – 11.0

  • Inadequate supply of infrastructure – 5.7

  • Inadequately educated workforce – 5.1

  • Poor public health – 3.4

  • Access to financing – 2.3

  • Tax rates – 1.8

  • Policy instability – 1.7

  • Restrictive labor regulations – 1.6

  • Government instability/coups – 1.3

  • Tax regulations – 0.7

  • Foreign currency regulations – 0.3

Key indicators

 

 

 

     

Total population (millions), 2007

0.3

0.8

2.7

1.3

GDP (US$ billions), 2007

3.7

1.0

11.2

20.7

GDP per capita (US$), 2007

13,605.4

1,365.2

4,172.2

15,904.8

GDP (PPP) as share (%) of world total, 2007

0.01

0.01

0.03

0.04

 

Table: Global Competitiveness Index

Global Competitiveness Index

Barbados

Guyana

Jamaica

Trinidad &Tobago

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

GCI 2008–2009 (Rank out of 134 Score 1-7)

47

4.4

115

3.5

86

3.9

92

3.9

GCI 2007–2008 (out of 131)

50

4.3

126

3.2

78

3.9

84

3.9

GCI 2006–2007 (out of 122)

41

4.5

113

3.3

67

4.1

76

3.9

Basic requirements

33

5.2

115

3.6

97

3.9

65

4.4

1st pillar: Institutions

20

5.2

117

3.2

86

3.7

104

3.4

2nd pillar: Infrastructure

24

5.2

98

2.8

67

3.5

63

3.6

3rd pillar: Macroeconomic stability

114

4.2

133

2.8

130

3.2

51

5.2

4th pillar: Health and primary education

10

6.3

62

5.6

77

5.3

72

5.4

Efficiency enhancers

56

4.2

112

3.3

75

3.9

80

3.8

5th pillar: Higher education and training

29

4.8

81

3.7

82

3.7

78

3.8

6th pillar: Goods market efficiency

72

4.2

96

3.9

63

4.2

90

4.0

7th pillar: Labor market efficiency

46

4.5

109

4.0

70

4.3

76

4.3

8th pillar: Financial market sophistication

38

4.8

98

3.8

59

4.4

52

4.6

9th pillar: Technological readiness

26

4.8

103

2.7

45

3.9

63

3.4

10th pillar: Market size

127

1.9

129

1.7

98

28

103

2.7

Innovation and sophistication factors

51

3.8

111

3.0

72

3.6

79

3.5

11th pillar: Business sophistication

56

4.3

95

3.6

69

4.0

73

4.0

12th pillar: Innovation

49

3.4

124

2.5

68

3.1

86

3.0

 

     

Mark Lee

About Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

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