Singapore retained its top spot as world's most competitive economy in the latest Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking. Its win came on the back of its strong economic performance which stems from the country's robust international trade and investment, availability of skilled labour force and labour market measures.
Apart from the relative ease of setting up business, other key strengths include its stable performances in both the education system and technological infrastructure - comprising telecommunications, Internet bandwidth speed, and high-tech exports.
The IMD's report look into the performance of 63 economies across the globe and highlight the abilities of nations to compete and sustain long-term economic growth in world markets. This year, a new criteria was added to reflect the importance of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which provide a perception of where the economy stands with respect to different sustainable goals including education, the environment, inclusion and empowerment, ageing and health.
The top countries in terms of order after Singapore are Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Besides Singapore and Taiwan, which rose to the 11th position from 16th, all other Asian economies dropped from their year-ago positions, pointing to their reliance on China which was affected by tensions from the US-China trade wars. Hong Kong also slipped three places to the 5th spot.
The rankings were based on responses from business executives on how they perceive their country's economy in the first quarter of 2020 and hard data from 2019.
The report also shared that the challenges which Singapore will be facing in 2020 in light of the economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides helping workers and enterprises to weather the pandemic, Singapore needs to leverage the downturn to deepen the capabilities of businesses and workers and ensure that they are well-positioned to capture opportunities during the subsequent recovery.