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Jordan drops three places in World Competitiveness Ranking — report

‘Jordan needs deep, genuine reforms at economic, government, legislative, labour market levels’ — IMD

By Laila Azzeh - Jun 03,2017 - Last updated at Jun 03,2017

AMMAN — Jordan dropped three points in the 2017 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking compared to last year, scoring 56 out of 63 countries, down from the 53rd rank. 

In the report, published by the IMD, a Swiss-based institute that releases competitiveness rankings annually, countries’ economies are ordered from the most to the least competitive, according to the IMD website. 

Scores are based on a country’s economic achievements, infrastructure, and government and corporate efficiency.

With economists deemed competiveness as the "most showing" indicator in evaluating a country's economic performance, they voiced their concern over what they described as the “bad ranking” of Jordan and the “swift drop” in its score since last year. 

"Competitiveness measures the ability of a country to compete in the global market. International reports in the past two years show that Jordan needs deep and genuine reforms at the economic, government, legislative and labour market levels," economic expert Husin Ayesh told The Jordan Times on Saturday. 

He added that productivity — one of the main aspects of competiveness — is "very low" in Jordan, a factor that does not support efforts to attract investments and create ventures, even in partnership with private sector. 

"The average productivity of a Jordanian in the public sector is 23 minutes. This does not look encouraging to investors," Ayesh noted, adding that competiveness also measures the economic growth of a country, economic activities, debts and taxation policies. 

The economist underlined the need for the government to embark on comprehensive reforms, especially given that competiveness is the main aspect investors consider when deciding whether or not to do business in a country. 

"Working on the stability of laws is a must in order to win back investors' confidence in Jordan," Ayesh added.  

Economic expert Zayan Zawaneh said that the Kingdom's competiveness ranking shows that it is unable to compete in external markets.

"The production inputs in Jordan are very pricy. Electricity, water and human resources cost a lot here… the issue cannot be resolved with a one-month plan, but rather a long-term strategy that seeks to holistically improve the overall performance of the economy," he said. 

Commenting on the decline of Jordan's ranking in the IMD report, Zawaneh noted that this also means that other countries have outperformed the Kingdom and looked for other markets. 

"Medical tourism, for instance, has been killed by the government's policies, which made Libyans, Yemenis and other patients from the Gulf resort to other countries for treatment," charged Zawaneh.

Both economists agreed that the government has focused on the security and stability of the country as a way to attract investments, but without sufficient focus on the business environment and other aspects that bring in investors. 

"This is a very limited way of looking at the issue. Security is only one out of many factors that encourage investors to do business in a certain country," Zawaneh highlighted. 

Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore achieved the three highest scores, followed by the US in fourth place, according to the IMD report, which has been issued since 1997.  

 

Among Arab countries covered by the study, the UAE ranked in 10th place and Qatar ranked 13th globally.  

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