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Switzerland's Economy Tops World Rankings

September 2013, 18
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According to a new study, Switzerland remains the strongest economy in the world, despite the on-going woes of several of its close neighbours in the Eurozone.
 
The report from the World Economic Forum places Switzerland firmly at the top of the pile, a judgement reached by assessing a number of different 'pillars' which included infrastructure and the labour market.

 

Strength and Depth

Switzerland opted to remain outside of the Eurozone more than 20 years ago and many forecast economic doom as a result. However, the self-contained country has continued to go from strength to strength and has once again come top of the Global Competitiveness Index.
 
The promised land of Switzerland
 
The promised land of Switzerland
The twelve pillars on which the Index is compiled include microeconomic environment, institutions, infrastructure, higher education and training, health and primary education, labour market efficiency; goods market efficiency, financial market development, market size, technological readiness, innovation and business sophistication.
 
Switzerland was judged as having particular strength in the sophistication within its business sector, the efficiency of its labour market plus innovation, scoring second in all three criteria.
 
The leading scientific research institutions within the country scored highly for innovation whilst investment in training was identified as one of the primary reasons for the balance achieved between the protection of employees and productivity.
 
The report also noted that Switzerland has managed to retain one of the most stable macroeconomic environments even amidst the worst of the recent global financial crisis.
 
University enrolment was cited as one of the few weak areas, as at just 56.8%, Switzerland trails many other top scoring countries.

A unified labour force

Even though Switzerland has firmly remained outside the Eurozone, holding onto its own identity and currency, its policy on immigration has been one of the most welcoming in the past century, and continues to be so.
 
Italians represent the largest group of immigrants, with Germans, Portuguese, Serbians and the French making up the rest of the top five. Foreign nationals account for approximately 22% of the total resident population in Switzerland.
Idyllic Switzerland, not just economically beautiful
Idyllic Switzerland, not just economically beautiful
The population has been increasing by on or around 1% every year with approximately 80% of the increase due to immigrants arriving.

Singapore scores second

After Switzerland scoring top in the study, Singapore beat a number of other top-performing countries to be placed second.
 
Singapore outperformed Switzerland in a number of different areas, earning the honour of being the only country to feature in the top three of seven of the defined pillars.
 
The goods market as well as labour force efficiency were in fact dominated by Singapore's presence whilst in the financial market scored a very close second. The infrastructure in the country was also much lauded, with road networks, ports and air travel all assessed as amongst the best seen anywhere.
 
Improving innovation and the sophistication of the private sector in Singapore are seen as fundamental to the country continuing to develop.
 

How the other countries scored

The top 15 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index were as follows:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore 
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. The Netherlands
  6. Germany
  7. United States
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Japan 
  11. Qatar
  12. Denmark
  13. Taiwan, China
  14. Canada
  15. Norway

The five countries scoring the lowest in the report were (in ascending order):

  1. Burundi
  2. Sierra Leone
  3. Haiti
  4. Guinea
  5. Yemen
 

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