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Global Competitiveness 2009-2010

The World Economic Forum recently published The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010. According to the Report’s terminology, competitiveness is a “set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country”. The ‘level of productivity’ stands for the “sustainable level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy” and it “determines the rates of return obtained by investments in an economy”. In this Report, the competitiveness of an economy is assessed against 12 pillars where the fifth pillar is higher education and training, measuring the secondary and tertiary enrolment rates and the quality of education recognised by the business world. Due to the importance of vocational and on-the-job training, this pillar also assigns value to those areas.

Based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2009-2010, the first five highest ranked countries are: Switzerland, the United States, Singapore, Sweden, and Denmark.

Some of the main changes compared to the GCI 2008-2009 are the following:

  • Switzerland and the United States swapped first and second places.
  • The Russian Federation dropped 12 places and landed at 63.
  • The People’s Republic of China moved up one place, to 29th, while Taiwan moved to 12th from17th.
  • Among the EU Member States Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, Portugal, Malta and Bulgaria maintained their positions. 
  • Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Estonia, the Slovak Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Greece fell one or more places compared to the previous year.
  • Those EU countries climbing to a higher rank were Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovenia, Poland, Italy, Hungary and Romania.

Global competition is more and more relevant between countries as well as between continents. The role of quality higher education and vocational training is one of the key factors in this complex picture. The EU economies are performing quite well but they are far from their real potential. Attention to this area will continue to be important if Europe wishes to remain competitive on a global level. 

World Economic Forum