Egypt among least competitive economies in the Middle East

Egypt’s economy ranks 11th in the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Index out of 12 Arab countries with Lebanon in last place, and ranks 100 out of 137 countries around the world according to a report released by the World Economic Forum and the World Bank Group.

The report states that Egypt has improved its general performance in raising global competitiveness back to the same spots occupied in 2009 and 2010.

Last year Egypt ranked 100, an increase compared to the 2016 report where it was placed at 115.

It shed light on several improvements, such as the development of financial markets and infrastructure, as well as the renewal of several transport lines in recent years, alongside the addition of the opening of the Suez Canal extension in 2015 which contributed to the expansion of road connections and steel networks.

“Over the past decade, Egypt’s performance vis-à-vis the advanced economies has increased or remained relatively stable in most dimensions of competitiveness, with the exceptions of infrastructure, financial market development, and market size,” the report states.

The report added that Egypt’s macroeconomic environment suffered sharply more than anticipated due to big inflation rates following the devaluation of the national currency.

“The country’s macroeconomic environment experienced the largest deterioration in both absolute and relative terms, and today is the biggest relative weakness of the country, followed by innovation and labor market efficiency,” the report said.

It predicts that Egypt will benefit from the ambitious economic reform program, which featured the introduction of value added tax (VAT) in 2016, and the progressive subsidies reduction across many oil and fuel-based industries.

The United Arab Emirates was ranked as the most competitive economy in the MENA region, and holds spot number 17 on the global index.

Other Arab countries including Qatar and Saudi Arabia snatched the top 30 places on global list, ranking 25th and 30th, respectively.

Source: Egypt Independent

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