Political instability, rampant bureaucracy and high tax rates are not only discouraging foreign investment to Greece, but are contributing to an ever- increasing brain drain, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), which has ranked Greece in 86th place among 138 countries in its report, published Wednesday, on Global Competitiveness for 2016-17.
According to the survey, the above factors are “the most problematic for doing business.”
Greece’s dire ranking this year – a drop of five places compared to last year – was fueled further by the blow to its banking system from the imposition of capital controls in 2015, and the need for a further batch of fiscal austerity measures.
The five-point slide this year reversed an improvement, albeit slight, in the country’s competitiveness recorded in reports of previous years.
In 2012-13 Greece was 96th among 144 countries. It moved up five places in the report of 2013-14 to 91st place out of 148, while in 2014-15 it climbed significantly to 81st place out of 144 countries. In 2015-16 it remained in 81st but among 140 countries.
The country’s brain drain appears to be of epic proportions as it placed 124th in the category that measures the ability of countries to keep talent at home.
Greece fared dismally in the banking system development category, coming in at 136th out of 138 countries, while it was second from last, 137th, when it came to access to banking finance.
The report also highlighted the difficulties faced by companies in Greece to secure money through other means, such as funding through collateral (136th) or through capital holding funds (135th).
It was found wanting with regard to tax incentives to promote investment, coming in 136th place, while it also lagged in transparency of government policy, placing 121th.
On a brighter note, it ranked 10th in the amount of surplus engineers and scientists.
Switzerland, Singapore and the United States remain the world’s three most competitive economies, according to the report.
“Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth,” said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.