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CRIME CONTINUES TO kill Jamaica's competitiveness, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2015/16 released this week.
Jamaica's overall rank remained level at 86 among 140 nations but the business cost of crime and violence subranked it as the world's second worst. Only Venezuela scored lower than Jamaica in that category.
The world's ten most competitive countries are Switzerland, Singapore, United States, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden and United Kingdom.
"Switzerland tops the Global Competitiveness Index for the seventh consecutive year. Switzerland leads the innovation pillar, thanks to its world-class research institutions, high spending on research and development by companies and strong cooperation between the academic world and the private sector," stated the report edited by Professor Klaus Schwab adding, other factors contributing to Switzerland's lead include innovation, business sophistication and its educated workforce.
Jamaica actually leads the Caribbean despite its challenges based on improvements over the last five competitiveness reports. Other Caribbean ranking include Trinidad & Tobago at 89, Dominican Republic at 98, Guyana at 121 and Haiti at 134. The survey findings in Barbados and Suriname were not completed to minimum requirements which resulted in their omission, according to the report first published in 1979. The competitive ranking measures 12 criteria.
Contextually, Jamaica ranked 67th in the world in 2006/07 report and continuously worsened to 107th among 142 countries in the 2011-12 report. That report recorded Jamaica as offering the worst macro-economy globally. However, macro improvements occurred in subsequent reports due to the country accessing budgetary financing from the International Monetary Fund and other donor agencies. The 2015/16 report reflects the country's performance with a debt to GDP of 140.6 per cent which led to a sub-rank of 138 in the world.
The major challenges affecting the Latin American and Caribbean region include crime and weak institutions, according to the report.
"The deceleration experienced in Latin America and the Caribbean since 2012 continues in 2015, with the IMF projecting growth of below one per cent -- down from 1.3 per cent in 2014 and 2.9 per cent in 2013. Falling commodity prices add to the persisting challenge of low levels of trade, investment, and savings, and low productivity growth. As a result, the region has seen its performance on the GCI stagnate over the past five years," stated the report.
The business costs of crime ranked Colombia at 132, Honduras at 133, Trinidad & Tobago at 136, El Salvador at 137, Guatemala at 138. Also El Salvador scored worst globally in terms of a separate category of the cost of organised crime on its competitiveness. (Jamaica Observer)