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9 September 2009

Singapore comes in 3rd in global competitiveness

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Singapore has been promoted to near the top of a league table of competitiveness, despite being mired in the global recession for much of the past year, the city-state’s online news website the Channel News Asia reported.

It jumped two places to third spot in the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) annual Global Competitiveness Report, which was released in China on Tuesday.

Singapore leapfrogged Sweden and Denmark and was again the highest-ranked country from Asia. It lost out only to the United States and Switzerland, which took top honours this year. The US was dragged down to second place by its weakened financial markets.

Like the US, many other countries slid down the rankings by losing their competitive edge more quickly than others. Singapore, however, was one of the few that actually moved up by increasing its overall competitiveness score, said WEF associate director and economist Thierry Geiger.

The reasons for this included improving the soundness of its banks - Singapore went from 13th place to eighth in this category - and enrolling more students in secondary schools and universities, he said.

Another important advance was in the area of innovation - the main growth channel for developed countries that have exhausted productivity gains. In this category, Singapore rose from 11th place to eighth, a result of factors such as higher company spending on research and development.

Another factor was the 'excellent collaboration' among universities, creating ideas for new products and the private sector implementing them, said Geiger. The country also proved relatively resilient amid the global downturn.

The Global Competitiveness Report is now in its 30th year and aims to gauge the productivity of a country and its capacity for healthy and sustainable growth over the next five to 10 years. It relies on publicly available data, as well as a survey of business leaders, more than 13,000 of whom were polled this year.


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