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WEF: Bangladesh slips two notches in global competitiveness

  • Published at 11:25 pm November 20th, 2019
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File photo: A cleaner drives a sweeper-scrubber past a flower installation for the upcoming Summer Davos meeting by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Dalian, Liaoning province, China June 11, 2019 Reuters

The more competitive a country is, the more likely it is that it will be able to improve living standards, the report said

Bangladesh ranked 105th out of 141 countries in the "Global Competitiveness Report 2019" published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday, down by two notches from the previous year ranking as competitiveness weakened in most of the indicators. 

It ranked 103rd in 2018 and 102nd in 2017. Bangladesh's score this year is similar  to last year, 52.1.

Singapore topped the list scoring of 84.8, followed by the United States with 83.7 and Hong Kong with 83.1.

Among the South Asian countries, India ranked 68th with 61.4, Sri Lanka 84th with 57.1 and Pakistan 110th with 51.4 score.

The more competitive a country is, the more likely it is that it will be able to improve living standards, the report said.

WEF has been measuring countries’ competitiveness since 1979. They define it as “the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.” Other definitions exist, but all generally include the word “productivity.”

The report also included that the garment trade that began in Bangladesh in the 1970s is now a $30 billion industry. But the economy is diversifying. The services sector – including microfinance and computing – makes up 53% of the country’s GDP.

The success of the IT industry is central to the digital transformation and ongoing economic growth of Bangladesh. It exports nearly $1 billion of technology products every year – a figure that the government expects to increase to $5 billion by 2021. The country also has 600,000 IT freelancers.

Bangladesh has seen wide improvements in health, education, infant mortality and life expectancy, according to Daniel Gay of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. This has driven growth and reduced economic vulnerability. “It’s really a success story,” he says.

The Global Competitiveness Report is a tool to help governments, the private sector, and civil society work together to boost productivity and generate prosperity.

Comparative analysis between countries allows leaders to gauge areas that need strengthening and build a coordinated response. It also helps identify best practices around the world.

Bangladesh has been classed by the United Nations as one of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) since 1975, but its current trajectory means it is likely to shed that description by 2024.

Graduating from LDC status is a sign that a country’s per capita gross national income, human assets, and resilience to economic and environmental shocks are robust enough to enable sustainable development, the report also added.