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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece improves position in IMD's world competitiveness ranking

  • [01] Greece improves position in IMD's world competitiveness ranking

    Greece improved its position in IMD‚s world competitiveness ranking for 2006, climbing to 42nd from 50th place in 2005 among 61 states and regions. The country recorded improvements in the government efficiency index (climbing from 52 to 46), business efficiency (to 47 from 49) and infrastructure (to 33 from 37).

    The economic performance index, however, remained unchanged at the 49 position. IMD, in its annual report, said the "demons" of bureaucracy, hurdles in business starts, central government debt, fiscal deficit and low spending on research and education were troubling the Greek economy.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said it was the first time since 2001 that Greece managed to improve its position in the world competitiveness ranking, reversing a five-year decline. The minister said this year‚s report was the first to solely present figures from the current government‚s tenure, while he added that Greece managed to surpass countries such as Portugal, Turkey, South Africa and Jordan, while it recorded the third biggest annual improvement after China and India.

    "We won‚t stop here, we continue with the same pace to ensure an improvement in Greek business and economic competitiveness," Sioufas said.

    The report was presented by the president of the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) George Mylonas. Commenting on the report, Mylonas expressed his optimism that Greece would continue improving its position on the precondition that the country achieved to attract more foreign direct investments in its regions.

    Greek tourism, exports and portfolio investments by foreign funds were the country‚s main advantages, IMD said in its report. Greece ranked eighth among 61 countries in tourist activity as a percentage of GDP and ninth in export of services, while also ranked 15th in foreign investments‚ reserves in equities.

    The country, however, ranked at the bottom of this year‚s ranking (60th) on exports of goods as a percentage of GDP and unemployment as a percentage of workforce (49th).

    State support and the central government‚s external debt (seventh and 13th respective) were the main advantages in the government efficiency index. Greece lost four places (29 from 25) in the real growth of total productivity last year, while the country was not considered to be an attractive destination for foreign skilled workers and that Greek enterprises reported high corporate debt.

    In the infrastructure category, Greece ranked second and ninth in the ratio of students and professors in the first and second grade of education, youths‚ strong interest in science and technology (ninth) and total spending on health as a percentage of GDP (ninth).

    The United States, Hong Kong and Singapore remained at the top of IMD‚s report, with Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Luxembourg, and Finland completing the top 10.

    Presenting the report, Mylonas said the government should focus on regional convergence, attracting more foreign investments and offering incentives and state support to boost exports. He also urged for efforts to combat bureaucracy and lowering corporate taxes, and combating corruption in the public sector.

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