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Monday 24 September 2018
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TT, an economy in transition

Trinidad and Tobago has risen 11 points on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. That ranking, however, was based more on a modified evaluation criteria than any profound change in policy.

Out of 137 countries, TT placed 83rd up from 94th out of 138 last year.

The country’s gross domestic product per capita fell to US$15,400 in 2016, down from US$17,300 in 2015, and, according to the WEF, that means the country was no longer considered an innovation-led economy, but rather an economy in transition. As such, the country was graded on the basic pillars of competitiveness, instead of innovative.

The 2017 results were presented yesterday at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (GSB) in Mt Hope. GSB is the WEF’s point of contact locally, and coordinates the evaluation and release of the rankings annually.

“The weighting shifted from innovative to basic because according to the WEF criteria, any economy with a GDP per capita below US$17,000 is an economy in transition. Because we are relatively stronger in the basic pillars, we went up five spots,” said Dr Balraj Kistow, a GSB lecturer.

The other six spots up the ladder were because after five years, the WEF team finally received up to date data on tertiary level enrolment.

“Previously it had been reported as 12 per cent; it’s 65.4 per cent. So we moved from 73rd to 33rd in world rankings. This is low hanging fruit. If the data was updated when it should have been we could have ranked higher long before,” Kistow said.

He said the last time the data had been updated was in 2007.

“The Central Statistical Office should have (updated) this data. Government agencies have the data, but for the sake of objectivity the WEF (and other international agencies) require data come from one source,” he added.

Overall, TT ranked highest in higher education and training (33/137); and lowest in macroeconomic environment (112/137). Poor work ethic, inefficient government bureaucracy and corruption were the top three challenges for doing business in the country.


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