AMMAN — Jordan was recently ranked 73rd among countries in the Global Competitiveness Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum, falling by two places compared to last year’s reortp.
Among Arab countries, Jordan came in 7th place and was preceded by the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
The Kingdom placed ahead of Morocco, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt in the report, which mapped the competitiveness of 140 economies through 98 indicators organised into 12 pillars. Each indicator uses a scale of 0 to 100, to illustrate how close an economy is to the ideal state or frontier of competitiveness. Jordan’s overall score on the scale reached 59.3.
The decline in Jordan’s ranking was attributed to a drop in several indicators, according to the recently-released report.
Jordan witnessed a drop in ease of finding skilled employees, extent of staff training and quality of vocational training.
The Kingdom also witnessed a drop in critical thinking in teaching, ease of hiring foreign labour and a decline in quality of research institutions.
Other factors also contributed to the decline, including the distortive effects of taxes, cost of starting a business and the complexity of tariffs, the report indicated.
“These are very important factors that investors consider before opening any business in any country and there is a need to take such indicators more seriously and start addressing them,” economist Mazen Marji told The Jordan Times on Saturday.
“A decline in these indicators is certainly behind the drop in the country’s competitiveness. We always brag about having qualified human capital, and we do have talents, but it seems there is a problem here that needs to be addressed to improve our competitiveness, he added.
The economist said it was also important to remove obstacles and red tape facing new businesses in Jordan, which is key to improving the county’s competiveness.
Investors want to be confident that the qualified human resources they need are available so their businesses grow… Jordan is facing tough competition from Dubai, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries,” he added.
Economist Wajdi Makhamreh agreed.
“Many companies are not investing in training their staff and building their capacity in light of financial challenges and cutting costs affected training opportunities,” he told The Jordan Times on Saturday.
“It is no surprise that we are witnessing a decline in some indicators. We need to work on addressing all these issues and this is also the role of universities that need to focus on the quality and skills of students to match the labour market needs,” Makhamreh said.