Analyses & Studies

Irish economy now 7th most competitive in world - IMD

The survey of 63 countries sees the Republic reverse a decline last year when it slipped out of the top 10 primarily due to Brexit

The Republic has been ranked among the world’s most competitive countries once again, reversing a sharp decline last year when it slipped out of the top 10 due to challenges including Brexit.

The survey of 63 countries, compiled by the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland, puts the Republic in seventh place overall, up from 12th in 2018.

“This is welcome news, and international comparisons like this are important in the world of foreign investment – rankings matter,” said Martin Shanahan, chief executive of IDA Ireland.

The news comes as Singapore leapfrogged the US and Hong Kong to be named the world’s most competitive economy for the first time since 2010.

The 2019 edition of the IMD survey, which is widely acknowledged as one of the most reputable barometers of international competitiveness, cites improvements for the State across all core areas measured outside of infrastructure.

Each country’s ranking is based on an analysis of more than 235 indicators derived from four main factors: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

The Republic was ranked third globally for business efficiency, as against 10th last year. It climbs five places to sixth for economic performance, and from 13th to 11th for government efficiency. However, it slips two places to 23rd for infrastructure.

In addition, Ireland leads the way globally for investment incentives, the handling of public sector contracts, and areas such as image, branding and talent management.


Prestigious rankings

The Republic’s highest overall position in the prestigious rankings was achieved in 2000, when it was named the fifth most competitive economy globally.

However, it fell to 24th position in 2011, only months after being forced into an bailout programme with the EU and the IMF. It has been steadily rising in the rankings in the years since, coming in sixth in 2017. However, last year it dropped six places due primarily to Brexit.

“These rankings are constantly changing, and Ireland has to be constantly improving its product if we are to continue to win investment. If we don’t other countries will win that business, and Ireland will fall down these rankings,” Mr Shanahan said.



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