In numbers: South Africa’s global competitiveness

Mary Alexander

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks South Africa as the 56th most competitive economy out of 144 countries, the highest standing on the African continent (the island of Mauritius comes in at 39) and ahead of its Brics developing economy partners India and Brazil.

While the country’s competitive rating has slipped from the 50th position it held in 2011/12, it still punches way above its weight in certain areas, particularly the development of its financial market. For the strength of its business auditing and reporting standards, and the regulation of its securities exchanges, South Africa is ranked first in the world.

The full rankings are below.

GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX – OVERALL INDICATORS

PILLAR SCORE RANK
GCI 2014–2015 4.4 56
Basic requirements (40.0%) 4.3 89
Institutions 4.5 36
Infrastructure 4.3 60
Macroeconomic environment 4.5 89
Health and primary education 4.0 132
Efficiency enhancers (50.0%) 4.4 43
Higher education and training 4.0 86
Goods market efficiency 4.7 32
Labour market efficiency 3.8 113
Financial market development 5.4 7
Technological readiness 3.9 66
Market size 4.9 25
Innovation and sophistication factors (10.0%) 4.1 37
Business sophistication 4.5 31
Innovation 3.6 43

GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS INDEX – DETAILED INDICATORS

PILLAR 1: INSTITUTIONS
ITEM SCORE RANK
1.01 Property rights 5.6 20
1.02 Intellectual property protection 5.3 22
1.03 Diversion of public funds 2.8 96
1.04 Public trust in politicians 2.6 90
1.05 Irregular payments and bribes 4.5 48
1.06 Judicial independence 5.4 24
1.07 Favouritism in decisions of government officials 2.6 104
1.08 Wastefulness of government spending 2.8 89
1.09 Burden of government regulation 2.8 120
1.10 Efficiency of legal framework in settling disputes 5.2 15
1.11 Efficiency of legal framework in challenging regs. 4.9 9
1.12 Transparency of government policymaking 4.5 35
1.13 Business costs of terrorism 6.0 30
1.14 Business costs of crime and violence 2.8 133
1.15 Organized crime 4.3 99
1.16 Reliability of police services 3.6 102
1.17 Ethical behaviour of firms 4.7 35
1.18 Strength of auditing and reporting standards 6.7 1
1.19 Efficacy of corporate boards 6.0 3
1.20 Protection of minority shareholders’ interests 6.1 2
1.21 Strength of investor protection, 0–10 (best)* 8.0 10

 

PILLAR 2: INFRASTRUCTURE
ITEM SCORE RANK
2.01 Quality of overall infrastructure 4.5 59
2.02 Quality of roads 4.9 37
2.03 Quality of railroad infrastructure 3.4 44
2.04 Quality of port infrastructure 4.9 46
2.05 Quality of air transport infrastructure 6.0 11
2.06 Available airline seat km/week, millions* 1,117.0 28
2.07 Quality of electricity supply 3.6 99
2.08 Mobile telephone subscriptions/100 pop.* 147.5 25
2.09 Fixed telephone lines/100 pop.* 9.2 90

 

PILLAR 3: MACROECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
ITEM SCORE RANK
3.01 Government budget balance, % GDP* –4.3 97
3.02 Gross national savings, % GDP* 13.5 119
3.03 Inflation, annual % change* 5.8 102
3.04 General government debt, % GDP* 45.2 77
3.05 Country credit rating, 0–100 (best)* 59.1 51

 

PILLAR 4: HEALTH AND PRIMARY EDUCATION
ITEM SCORE RANK
4.01 Malaria cases/100,000 pop.* 32.5 27
4.02 Business impact of malaria 5.1 30
4.03 Tuberculosis cases/100,000 pop.* 1,003.0 143
4.04 Business impact of tuberculosis 3.7 136
4.05 HIV prevalence, % adult pop.* 17.9 140
4.06 Business impact of HIV/AIDS 3.4 136
4.07 Infant mortality, deaths/1,000 live births* 33.3 105
4.08 Life expectancy, years* 56.1 129
4.09 Quality of primary education 2.4 133
4.10 Primary education enrolment, net %* 85.0 118

 

PILLAR 5: HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
ITEM SCORE RANK
5.01 Secondary education enrolment, gross %* 101.9 24
5.02 Tertiary education enrolment, gross %* 19.2 93
5.03 Quality of the education system 2.2 140
5.04 Quality of math and science education 1.9 144
5.05 Quality of management schools 5.2 24
5.06 Internet access in schools 3.2 117
5.07 Availability of research and training services 4.5 44
5.08 Extent of staff training 4.9 18

 

PILLAR 6: GOODS MARKET EFFICIENCY
ITEM SCORE RANK
6.01 Intensity of local competition 5.5 36
6.02 Extent of market dominance 4.0 48
6.03 Effectiveness of anti-monopoly policy 5.1 14
6.04 Effect of taxation on incentives to invest 4.3 26
6.05 Total tax rate, % profits* 30.1 41
6.06 No. procedures to start a business* 5 32
6.07 No. days to start a business* 19.0 90
6.08 Agricultural policy costs 3.9 65
6.09 Prevalence of trade barriers 4.8 23
6.10 Trade tariffs, % duty* 6.0 76
6.11 Prevalence of foreign ownership 5.1 42
6.12 Business impact of rules on FDI 4.0 104
6.13 Burden of customs procedures 4.1 62
6.14 Imports as a percentage of GDP* 40.7 85
6.15 Degree of customer orientation 4.6 67
6.16 Buyer sophistication 4.0 31

 

PILLAR 7: LABOUR MARKET EFFICIENCY
ITEM SCORE RANK
7.01 Cooperation in labour-employer relations 2.5 144
7.02 Flexibility of wage determination 2.7 139
7.03 Hiring and firing practices 2.1 143
7.04 Redundancy costs, weeks of salary* 9.3 33
7.05 Effect of taxation on incentives to work 4.5 15
7.06 Pay and productivity 2.7 136
7.07 Reliance on professional management 5.5 21
7.08 Country capacity to retain talent 3.7 50
7.09 Country capacity to attract talent 3.9 39
7.10 Women in labour force, ratio to men* 0.77 84

 

PILLAR 8: FINANCIAL MARKET DEVELOPMENT
ITEM SCORE RANK
8.01 Availability of financial services 6.1 6
8.02 Affordability of financial services 5.3 21
8.03 Financing through local equity market 5.4 3
8.04 Ease of access to loans 3.5 32
8.05 Venture capital availability 3.2 37
8.06 Soundness of banks 6.5 6
8.07 Regulation of securities exchanges 6.4 1
8.08 Legal rights index, 0–10 (best)* 7 43

 

PILLAR 9: TECHNOLOGICAL READINESS
ITEM SCORE RANK
9.01 Availability of latest technologies 5.5 39
9.02 Firm-level technology absorption 5.4 29
9.03 FDI and technology transfer 4.8 50
9.04 Individuals using Internet, %* 48.9 69
9.05 Fixed broadband Internet subscriptions/100 pop.* 3.1 89
9.06 Int’l Internet bandwidth, kb/s per user* 3.7 126
9.07 Mobile broadband subscriptions/100 pop.* 25.2 74

 

PILLAR 10: MARKET SIZE
ITEM SCORE RANK
10.01 Domestic market size index, 1–7 (best)* 4.8 24
10.02 Foreign market size index, 1–7 (best)* 5.3 34
10.03 GDP (PPP$ billions)* 596.5 25
10.04 Exports as a percentage of GDP* 31.3 92

 

PILLAR 11: BUSINESS SOPHISTICATION
ITEM SCORE RANK
11.01 Local supplier quantity 4.8 47
11.02 Local supplier quality 4.9 38
11.03 State of cluster development 4.2 44
11.04 Nature of competitive advantage 3.7 62
11.05 Value chain breadth 3.8 68
11.06 Control of international distribution 4.4 35
11.07 Production process sophistication 4.5 38
11.08 Extent of marketing 5.2 24
11.09 Willingness to delegate authority 4.5 27

 

PILLAR 12: INNOVATION
ITEM SCORE RANK
12.01 Capacity for innovation 4.3 35
12.02 Quality of scientific research institutions 4.7 34
12.03 Company spending on R&D 3.4 48
12.04 University-industry collaboration in R&D 4.5 31
12.05 Gov’t procurement of advanced tech products 3.0 112
12.06 Availability of scientists and engineers 3.5 102
12.07 PCT patents, applications/million pop.* 6.5 45