By Dimitra Manifava
Greece has moved up five positions in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness chart for 2013, and is now 91st out of 148 countries, compared to 96th out of 144 countries last year. However it remains in a particularly low position.
“In working to overcome its present difficulties, Greece has a number of strengths on which it can build, including a reasonably well-educated work force that is adept at adopting new technologies for productivity enhancements. With continued efforts toward growth-enhancing reforms, there is every reason to believe that Greece will continue to improve its competitiveness in the coming years,” the report issued on Wednesday stated.
Nevertheless this progress was not enough for Greece to rise above countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Rwanda, or even neighboring countries such as Turkey for that matter.
“Although it remains the lowest-ranked country of the European Union and the results in the macroeconomic environment pillar continue to raise concern (second to last at 147th position this year), Greece has started to show improvements in a number of other areas, perhaps indicating that the reform efforts are beginning to bear fruit,” the report added, citing improvements in the institutional environment, the efficiency of the labor market and technological adoption.
Of note is the fact that the report says that the greatest obstacle to corporate activity this year is the difficulty in accessing funding, in contrast with previous reports that cited bureaucracy as the biggest problem.
“Although some progress is being made, public institutions (e.g. government efficiency, corruption, undue influence) continue to receive a poor evaluation (102nd) and confidence has not returned to financial markets in the country (138th). The country’s inefficient labor market (127th) continues to constrain Greece’s ability to emerge from the crisis, although this has improved somewhat since last year, perhaps reflecting recent efforts to increase both the retirement age and labor market flexibility.”