MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti)
Russia lost one position and was ranked 67th out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report published on Wednesday.
“In a manner of speaking, Russia’s positions remain stable. However, situation with weak spots, such as competitiveness at commodities markets and the development of financial markets, have slightly worsened against the background of improved macroeconomic and infrastructure indices,” said Alexei Prazdnichnykh, who coordinates the WEF Global Competitiveness Program in Russia.
Switzerland tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report for the fourth consecutive year. Singapore remains in second position with Finland third, overtaking Sweden.
Northern and Western European countries dominate the top ten with the Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom respectively ranked fifth, sixth and eighth. The United States (seventh), Hong Kong (ninth) and Japan (tenth) complete the top 10.
Most of Russia’s BRICS partners have also lost several positions in the ranking, except for Brazil, which was ranked 48th, up five positions from the previous year. China slipped from 26th to 29th, South Africa - to 52nd from 50th, India - to 59th from 56th.
Russia is ranked 53rd according to WEF’s basic requirements (institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education) and its 54th in the efficiency enhancers ranking (higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness and market size).
Russia’s overall position is worsened by the third sub-index - innovation and sophistication factors - where Russia is ranked 108th.
Among the positive factors as the rapid improvement of macroeconomic environment indices, where Russia jumped to the 22nd position from 44th it occupied a year earlier. According to researchers, the improvements are mainly due to last year’s low state debt and budget surplus.
Russia’s advantages remain the same: good education, especially higher education, favorable infrastructure and a large domestic market. According to analysts, all these factors can be used to boost Russia’s competitiveness.
However, those growth factors were not enough to compensate for weak market institutions and low innovation potential.
Russia’s competitiveness index is also affected by low competitiveness on goods and services markets (134th place), labor market (84th place) and financial market (130th place).
According to surveys conducted by WEF specialists, most respondents see corruption as the main obstacle for having a successful and profitable business in Russia, followed by ineffective state management.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.