Friday 28 October 2016

Ireland is lagging behind EU neighbours in world competitiveness ranking


Poor infrastructure is an issue
Poor infrastructure is an issue

A prestigious global business ranking rates Ireland well below rivals including the UK, Switzerland and Singapore.

Ours is only the 11th most competitive country in the European Union, according to the index from the Swiss-based World Economic Forum (WEF).

Overall, Ireland is in the 23rd spot out of 138 states - well behind the UK which is in seventh place.

Ireland has edged up one point in this year's global competitiveness ranking, but suffers as businesses here cite inadequate infrastructure as their biggest problem.

Ireland is ranked the eighth most competitive out of 19 countries in the Eurozone, lagging behind the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria and Belgium among others.

The National Competitiveness Council, Ireland's competitiveness watchdog, said that while our performance has improved, problems persist.

"[Ireland's performance] is still being negatively affected by macroeconomic legacy issues and threats to present and future competitiveness are evident in relation to infrastructure and access to finance."


The council also points out that although there has been an improvement in Ireland's performance, the ranking in the WEF index depends, to a degree, on whether other countries improve or get worse.

The WEF also captures the opinions of Irish businesses and shows that inadequate infrastructure is by far the biggest issue for companies, followed by tax rates, access to finance, perceived inefficient bureaucracy, and insufficient capacity to innovate.

We slip in the rankings compared with last year in terms of infrastructure and financial markets. But it improves greatly in terms of the macro environment, although the latter remains well down the list in 43rd place.

"Ireland's infrastructure ranking is primarily a result of poor perception-based scores on the quality of infrastructure," the NCC said.

"Ireland's poor ranking in relation to financial market development remains a concern. Ireland performs particularly poorly in terms of the affordability of financial services (81st), ease of access to loans (91st) and soundness of banks (111th)."

Ireland performs well in relation to market efficiency, technological readiness, health and primary and third level education.

"Within these headings, a range of strengths are evident - Ireland is ranked in the top 10 in relation to intellectual property, investor protection, quality of the education system, FDI rules, regulation around exporting and productivity levels," they added.

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