Zim remains near-flat on competitiveness index

via Zim remains near-flat on competitiveness index | The Herald October 1, 2015

Zimbabwe has remained near-flat on the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 2015-2016, ranking 125 out of 140 countries. In the previous GCI, Zimbabwe has achieved improvement by seven notches and attained 124th position out of 144 countries, from 131st position in the 2013-2014 index.

But the report says there still some fundamental problems that the country should deal with in order to improve the doing business environment.

According to the index, the main concerns for Zimbabwe are “access to financing”, “restrictive labour regulations”, “inadequate supply of infrastructure”, “inefficient Government bureaucracy” and “corruption”.

The report also shows Zimbabwe still needs to make progress in respect of basic requirements, namely “institutions” (with a ranking of 112 out of 140 countries); “infrastructure” (129 out of 140); “macroeconomic environment” (104 out of 140), and “health and primary education” (106 out of 140).

These basic requirements have the highest score of 60 percent in determining the GCI.

Although some local observers believe that the WEF competitiveness index does not do justice to what is actually prevailing on the ground in the respective economies, other opine that the index should be taken seriously because potential investors do look at them when making investment decisions.

Over the past few years the Zimbabwean Government has been putting significant effort in improving the country’s doing business climate and this has been reflected by recent trends on its ranking on the GCI.

The country moved from 132nd ranking in the 2012-2013 GCI, to 131 in the 2013-2014 GCI and to ranking 124 in the previous GCI.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently outlined some of the initiatives being carried out by Government to improve Zimbabwe’s global competitiveness.

“The business environment issue is a process. We remain committed to improving our investment environment so that it’s conducive to investment. It’s not an event, it’s a process. There are some issues which are easier to dispose of and others which are more difficult for political and other reasons.

“But we are committed to undertaking a reform agenda and I am happy actually that in some respects we have already moved mountains, we have achieved some of the reforms earlier than we had anticipated,” he said.

“The reforms in the financial services sector have gone down very well, what remains now is to see them through. We are also at full throttle with respect to sorting out the ease of doing business, this is an exercise that for co-ordination purposes is being superintended by the Office of the President and Cabinet, and I am informed that much progress is being made, especially the project to turn Zimbabwe Investment Authority into a One Stop Shop. We are also tackling the issue of cost of doing business all this to attract foreign direct investment.”

The WEF says the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 has been launched at “a pivotal time for the global economy’, when on the one hand, economic development is characterised by the “new normal” of higher unemployment, lower productivity growth, and subdued economic growth that could still be derailed by uncertainties such as geopolitical tensions, the future path of emerging markets, energy prices, and currency changes. — BH24.