The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2023, which is published by the World Competitiveness Center of the International Institute for Management Development, placed Saudi Arabia's overall performance at the 17th position globally among 64 countries that are considered the most competitive in the world.
This ranking represents a notable improvement of 7 positions compared to last year's ranking of 24, propelling Saudi Arabia into the top 20 countries for the first time in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2023.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has ranked 3rd most competitive economy among its G20 counterparts. This places the Kingdom ahead of other G20 countries such as South Korea, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, India, the UK, and China.
On another front, the Kingdom made progress in three out of the four main competitiveness factors assessed by the report in 2023 compared to 2022.
For example, in terms of economic performance, the Kingdom has improved its position from 31 to 6, and in terms of government efficiency, it has improved its position from 19 to 11.
Additionally, the Kingdom has made advancements in several sub-items assessed by the report.
Saudi Arabia’s strong financial and economic position reflects the solid economic and financial reforms implemented by the Kingdom since the launch of its vision in 2016.
For example, the Kingdom has achieved the first rank in the world for efficiency of spending and understanding the need for economic and social reforms.
Majid Al-Qasabi, Saudi minister of commerce and chairman of the board of directors of the National Competitiveness Center, responded to the Kingdom's positive results in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2023 by confirming that they reflect the economic transformation process implemented by the Kingdom's government in accordance with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives.
Despite the strong financial and economic positioning of Saudi Arabia, the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2023 also highlighted some challenges facing the country.
Among these challenges are: continuing the efforts to promote renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions, closing the gap between the output of higher education and the requirements of the job market, and continuing the ongoing government endeavors to achieve the targets of Saudi 2030 vision across all economic, social, and environmental aspects.
The World Competitiveness Yearbook, published annually by IMD in Switzerland, assesses national economies based on 4 main competitiveness factors, 20 sub-factors, and more than 330 sub-indicators.
Founded over 75 years ago, IMD is led by an expert and diverse faculty, with campuses in Lausanne and Singapore. It is a pioneering force in developing leaders who transform organizations and contribute to society, with its executive education and degree programs consistently ranked among the world's best by renowned publications such as the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, and others.
I had the honor of attending and successfully completing the IMD Executive Development Program in 1992.
I believe that the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2023 has positioned Saudi Arabia fairly in both the main four factors and the sub-factors.
The strong financial and economic position of Saudi Arabia reflects the solid economic and financial reforms implemented by the Kingdom since the launch of its vision in 2016. Despite the various economic and geopolitical challenges faced globally, these reforms have accelerated the growth of the economy.
• Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. X (formerly known as Twitter): @TalatHafiz