Worrisome gap remains

Belgium 17th most competitive country in the world

JPGThe World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 ranks Belgium as the 17th most competitive country in the world. This is a drop of two places on last year, which keeps Belgium ahead of France, but means it hasn’t yet managed to close the gap with its other neighbours the Netherlands (5th) and Germany (6th). Professor Leo Sleuwaegen: “This index reflects the foundations of a country’s competitiveness and defines its capacity for growth. In that sense, the gap with the Netherlands and Germany will weaken our position in Europe in the long term.” Nonetheless, Belgium ranks well in a number of individual categories, coming second worldwide in terms of primary education and also performing well in higher education and training. It also offers excellent healthcare and high levels of business sophistication and innovation. Belgium’s competitiveness performance has mainly been affected by a lower level of technological readiness, labour market efficiency and the macro-economic climate. “But it’s particularly the decline in terms of infrastructure that’s a source of concern, as this used to be a competitive advantage for Belgium,” says Leo.

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