Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guyana tops most improved list-2010 Global Competitiveness Index

-none of the so-called 'independent dailies' nor pro-opposition newscasts carried this story

Almost unnoticed, Guyana turned in the best 2 year improvement of the 133 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index produced by the World Economic Forum.
None of the so-called 'independent dailies' nor pro-opposition newscasts carried this story. Usually they are very quick to carry stories and opinion pieces on reports which paint Guyana and by extension the government in a bad light.
From its lowly position at 126, Guyana scaled +22 spots to come in at 104 in the just released 2009/2010 report. At the same time Switzerland displaced the USA in the top spot and Singapore moved up +4 spots to take the number three position.

In the CARICOM reference group only 4 of the other 14 countries made it on the survey. In comparison to Guyana’s +22 place improvement, Jamaica declined -13 places and Trinidad declined -2 places while Barbados and Suriname improved +6 and +11 places respectively.

The other big gainer on the South American continent was Brazil (+16) which the report characterized as the Latin America and Caribbean regional giant. Uruguay gained +10 and Peru gained +8 while Columbia and Argentina were unchanged. Venezuela and Bolivia each lost -15 places, Chile was down -4, Paraguay was down -3, and Ecuador was down -2.

The rankings are established on 12 pillars of competitiveness in the table below and their sub- indices.

Guyana made good progress in Institutions, Infrastructure, Health and Primary Education, and Higher Education and Training, while Financial Market Sophistication and Market Size dragged on the improvement according to the report.

The improvement in Institutions was fostered by a reduction in burdensome government regulations, more transparency in government policy making and improved efficacy of corporate boards. But issues clustered under the security sub-index had a significant negative impact on this category as reflected in the business costs of crime and violence.

Infrastructure improvements were driven by improvements in roads and in the quality of air transport infrastructure. The availability of seat kilometres was the weak point.

In Health and Primary Education Guyana’s standout performance in Primary Education is partially masked by the prevalence of AIDS/HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Quality of Primary Education ranked at 55 up +16 places. Primary enrolment is at 26 and education expenditures at 3 (7.8% of GDP).

Higher Education and Training is another standout area. The global survey ranked Guyana 12th in secondary enrolment. The country also made significant strides in the Quality of the Education System (62), the Quality in Math and Science Education (79), Quality of Management Schools (88), and Extent of Staff Training (69). The detracting factors were the lack of Local Availability of Research and Training Service and the need for internet access in schools. The cost for broadband service in Guyana is prohibitive at this time and there are reliability issues.
Other positives on the report were a rank of 39 on Agriculture Policy Cost reflected under the Goods Market Efficiency pillar, and an improvement by +26 places to an inflation rank of 63 under the Macroeconomic pillar. The overall Macroeconomic pillar remained weak due to the remaining debt, budget deficit, low savings rate and high interest rate spreads.

There were also improvements in the Pay and Productivity and Labour-Employer Relations sub-indices which fall under the Labour Market Efficiency pillar. The report also listed advantages for Guyana in areas related to Rigidity of Employment and Hiring and Firing Practices. But a huge negative in this category is the brain drain. Guyana is recorded as the country most impacted by this at 133 of 133 countries.

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