The Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that Malta has improved its overall competitiveness performance. In the latest edition Malta ranked 40th out of 138 countries included in this publication. This represents an improvement on the 48th place attained by Malta in the previous release.
This publication assesses each country on twelve (12) main pillars. Malta ranked at least 41st under each pillar, bar for the 10th pillar (market size). Under this pillar Malta ranked 126th. Unfortunately, little improvement can ever be attained in this area as the score is dictated by the size of our country.
Malta excelled particularly well in the areas of health and primary education (18th), technological readiness (20th) and macroeconomic environment (21st).
With respect to health and primary education Malta ranked very strongly in the areas of life expectancy (16th) and quality of primary education (19th). Under the area of technological readiness significant results were attained for internet bandwidth (3rd), fixed broadband internet subscriptions (7th) and FDI and technology transfer (21st). Under the macroeconomic pillar Malta ranked as being the best country in terms of annual percentage change in inflation (1st). Malta also ranked 20th for gross national savings as a percentage of GDP.
The report overall indicates that over the last years Malta has gradually improved its rankings in a number of indicators that are included under this index. However, the same report clearly indicates that this result is not guaranteed and there are a number of areas which still need to be addressed concretely in order to enable Malta to retain and improve its ranking further.
The index shows that improvements have been recorded with respect to the number of procedures to set-up a business as well as the time required to do so. However, the measures adopted so far have only enabled Malta to rank 116th (procedures) and 114th (time) in these areas. Given that these indicators are sourced by the WEF from the World Bank, the important work carried out in this area is not yet reflected fully in this publication.
The Global Competitiveness Report also highlighted that for the first time, when respondents came to identify the main problematic factors for doing business, a workforce which is relatively lacking in the required education levels topped the list. This is a reflection of the shift in Malta’s economy to operations requiring far higher levels of training and expertise than was the case in the past. The situation is being studied by the Ministry of Education and the various stakeholders such as Malta Enterprise and plans have been developed to implement more targeted and effective strategies in order to ensure long-term sustainability.