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Review shows effect of crisis in region

Competitiveness gap rising between Gulf economies and the rest of the Arab world

Gulf News

Marrakesh: The Arab World Competitiveness Review 2010 finds that the global economic crisis has further widened the competitiveness gap between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the rest of the Arab world.

The review, published ahead of the 2010 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, sees Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait outperforming other economies at a similar level of development in terms of competitiveness.

In the overall ranking of 139 economies, they place 17th, 21st and 35th respectively.

The UAE is the only economy from the region that has reached the most advanced innovation-driven stage of development because of its diversified structure.

It places 23rd within this group and 25th overall. Kuwait places second among the factor-driven economies (lowest stage of development).

Tunisia and Morocco (efficiency-driven) rank 32nd and 75th respectively in the overall ranking and outperform Egypt (81), Algeria (86) and Libya (100), which remain in the factor-driven stage of development.

The Arab world's competitive strengths lie in sound and transparent institutions, macroeconomic stability and business sophistication. Countries will need to accelerate efforts to raise the efficiency of their labour markets, furthering the development and stability of financial markets, and reforming education. GCC countries have reached OECD levels on a number of categories of the index, such as institutions, infrastructure, as well as efficiency of goods, labour and financial markets.