Reforms push Nigeria up in global competitive economies ranking

The World Economic Forum has released the latest Global Competitiveness Report which ranks economies across the world. According to the latest ranking, Nigeria has moved two steps upward among the competitive economies in the world. Nigeria is now 125th out of the 137 economies that the ranking covers; it occupied 127th position in last year’s ranking.

This is a cheering news for Africa’s largest economy which moved out of a biting recession earlier in the second quarter of this year. This is the first time Nigeria’s ranking has gone up since 2012.

From the WEF ranking, Nigeria has only fared a little better than a few sub-Saharan African countries like Democratic Republic of Congo (126th), Burundi (129th), Sierra Leone (130th), Chad (135th) and Liberia (134th), while several other sub-Saharan African countries like Cameroon (116th), Ghana (111th), Gambia (117th), and Uganda (114th) are better off than Nigeria. Mauritius and Rwanda, at 45th and 58th positions respectively, are ranked higher than South Africa (61th).

Switzerland maintains its number one spot as the most competitive economy in the world. The 10 most competitive world’s economies are Switzerland, the U.S, Singapore, the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, Sweden, the U.K, Japan, and Finland. China and Russia are ranked 27th and 38th respectively.

Nigeria’s improved placement on this ranking of global competitive economies is attributable to a string of reforms undertaken to improve the ease of doing business within the country. Nigeria is notorious for its harsh business environment with issues such as government regulations, multiple taxation, access to credit, bureaucracy and difficulty in business registration hampering the growth of many businesses.

Recently, the government has paid more attention to these issues and through a number of executive orders and legislation sought to address them. The marginal gains from these reforms are no doubt connected to the country’s new position in the league of world economies.

It is not all good news however. According to the WEF report, Nigeria’s macroeconomic conditions worsened in recent months with inflation as hish as 15.7 percent.

“Nigeria is struggling to adapt to lower commodity prices, with the potential for structural change impeded by low scores on infrastructure (132nd), technological readiness (112th, down seven), higher education (116th), and innovation capacity (112th).

“However, new prudential requirements have strengthened the banking sector’s soundness, and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017–2020 contains much-needed reforms on transport and power infrastructure, the business environment, and education investment,” the report stated.

WEF said this year’s report came out in the context of recovering global growth, but that many countries were still facing challenges such as disruptive inequalities; rising protectionism and a backlash against globalisation; and the challenges and uncertainties of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with its innovation and technological change.

The report is produced annually from data obtained from leading international sources.