Finland retains high position in competitiveness index for 2006

For the second year in succession Finland has been ranked in second place in the annual Global Competitiveness Index, GCI, published by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum on September 26. Switzerland took over top spot from the United States whilst Sweden was ranked third. 
In the words of the WEF, “Switzerland, Finland and Sweden are the world’s most competitive economies. Denmark, Singapore, the United States, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom complete the top ten.

The GCI provides a holistic survey of factors that are crucial in boosting productivity and competitiveness. The index groups them into nine sectors: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomy, health and primary education, higher education and training, market efficiency, technological readiness, business sophistication, and innovation. 
Praise for the Nordics

According to the authors of the index, Finland and Sweden have the best institutions in the world. They were ranked 1 and 2 respectively and occupy places in the top ten for health services and education.

Finland, Sweden and Denmark also occupy the top three places in higher education and training, where, says the WEF, “Finland’s rank of number one is remarkable for its durability over time.”

“The Nordic countries show that transparent institutions and excellent macroeconomic management, coupled with world class educational attainment and a focus on technology and innovation are a successful strategy for maintaining competitiveness in small, highly developed economies,” the WEF states. 
Finland’s strengths

Finland has been high in the WEF competitiveness rankings for several years. Back in 2003 the organisation identified Finland’s strengths as well managed economic policy, first class public institutions, and a private sector that adapts willingly to new technology and innovation.

To those assets, one might add the conclusion of the respected ethical organisation Transparency International that there is virtually no corruption in high places in Finland.

WEF’s chief economist, Augusto Lopez-Claros, sees good prospects for economies like Finland’s. “Countries that, like the Nordics, are investing heavily in education are likely to see rising levels of income per capita, growing success in reducing poverty and an increasing ability to establish a presence in the global economy,” he says.

A few years back the New York Times carried sent out the same message in a rather different way, urging readers to forget stereotypes of Scandinavian socialism, including the misconception that high taxes and a costly public welfare system asphyxiate the spirit of enterprise.

According to the NYT, the Nordic countries, Finland in the lead, are among the world’s most interesting economies and among the best places to do business.

According to Virtual Finland, anyone who knows Finland knows that it’s a place where things get done – expeditiously and well. Investors take heed.

Source: Joe Brady -Virtual Finland-

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