Excellent innovation and strong institutional environments are increasingly influencing economic competitiveness worldwide, according to Geneva’s World Economic Forum (WEF). Launching the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14 on 4 September, WEF said that Switzerland tops the ranking for the fifth year running, while a reverse in the US’s four-year decline is attributable to “a perceived improvement in the country’s financial market as well as greater confidence in its public institutions.”

Qatar (13th) tops MENA rankings (see table), with the UAE (19th) entering the top 20 for the first time. Saudi Arabia (20th) falls two places. Israel ranks 27th. Egypt (118th) drops a further 11 places on last year. Bahrain (43rd), Jordan (68th) and Morocco (77th) also fall. Tunisia re-enters the index at 83rd, while Algeria is 100th. (CONTINUED - 725 WORDS)