US drops to second place and UK ranked 13th

Switzerland has knocked the United States off the top spot to become the most globally competitive country in the world, according to a new analysis by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010—based on the Global Competitiveness Index—assesses the competitiveness landscape in countries of all stages of development.

The US fell into second place as a result of the weakening in its financial markets and macroeconomic stability. Singapore, Sweden and Denmark rounded out the top five.

Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics at Columbia University and co-author of the report explained: ‘Competitive economies are those that have in place factors driving the productivity enhancements on which their present and future prosperity is built.’ A competitive economic environment can help economies weather downturns in the business cycle and ensure that the mechanisms to sustain growth are in place, he added.


European economies continued to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands all scoring well.

The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, continued falling, moving down one more place this year to 13th, mainly attributable to a continued weakening in its financial markets.


“The UK has continued its fall moving down to 13th place, mainly attributable to continuing weakening of its financial markets.

The People’s Republic of China led the way among large developing economies, it improved by one place this year, solidifying its position among the top 30. Among the three other large BRIC economies, Brazil and India also improved, while Russia fell by 12 places

Several Asian economies performed strongly with Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, China also in the top 20. In Latin America, Chile was the highest ranked country, followed by Costa Rica and Brazil.

Middle East

A number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region broke into the upper half of the rankings, led by Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Tunisia, with particular improvements noted in the Gulf States, which continued their upward trend of recent years.


In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana all featured in the top half of the rankings, with a number of other countries from the region measurably improving their competitiveness.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and an executive opinion survey. This year, over 13,000 business leaders were polled in 133 economies.

Global Competitiveness Index 2009 and comparisons with 2008

Country: 2009 rank/2008 rank
Switzerland 1/2
US 2/1
Singapore 3/5
Sweden 4/4
Denmark 5/3
Finland 6/6
Germany 7/7
Japan 8/9
Canada 9/10
Netherlands 10/8