Malawi has moved three steps up on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The country has moved from 135 in 2016 to 132 this year out of 137 economies, according to WEF.
The index assesses factors driving countries’ productivity and prosperity and Malawi’s ranking on the index means that globally, the country is less competitive.
GCI scores are calculated by drawing together country level data covering 12 categories—the pillars of competitiveness—that collectively make up a comprehensive picture of a country’s competitiveness.
Out of the 12 pillars, the country’s poor performance is noted in infrastructure development, ranking the least on 137, macro-economic environment (136), higher education and training (128) and goods and market efficiency (121). The country, however, ranks highly on labour market efficiency, ranking 45th globally.
The report also identifies corruption as the most problematic factor for doing business in Malawi, followed by access to finance, tax rates, inflation and inadequate supply of infrastructure, which when coupled with growth rates that remain below historical levels put the country’s models of economic growth and related policies into question.
Earlier, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Karl Chokotho said Malawi has been registering massive cases of corruption since 2013 but noted that government has not been forthcoming to deal with the vice.
Regionally, South Africa remains one of the most competitive countries in sub-Saharan Africa, ranking 61 despite dropping 14 places in the overall ranking for this year.
Overall, the report noted that the continued deterioration in the macroeconomic environment has made the region less competitive globally.
Reads the report: “Average inflation [for sub-Saharan Africa] grew to double digits in 2016 and remains above 10 percent. Public finances are still being affected by past slower global growth and commodity prices, which-although picking up somewhat-remain well below the commodity price levels of the 2005/14 period”
The 12 pillars of competitiveness include institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency and financial market development. n