Jamaica slips to 79 in Global Competiveness Report

Now falls behind Trinidad

Business editor

Friday, October 19, 2018

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Jamaica has lost its position as the highest-rated Caribbean island in the Global Competitveness Report, as it has slipped to 79th position from 70th position it held last year. As a result, Trinidad and Tobago is now the higest-rated Caribbean island.

Jamaica now falls one space below Trinidad and Tobago, which has improved five places to 78 from 83 last year, in the new report published by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Even though Jamaica ranked 70 in last year's report, with a new methodology, the 2018 report states that Jamaica only slipped one space from 78 to 79.

The new result seems to draw a line under recent improvments in Jamaica's ranking since 2012 when Jamaica placed 97 out of 144 countries, improving to 94 in 2013, 86 in 2014, levelling at 86 in 2015, then improving by 11 places in 2016 to 75, and then to 70 last year.

While Jamaica has fallen in the ranking, its actual score of 57.9 points (out of a possible 100) this year was equal to Trinidad's — though Jamaica ranks one place lower. With a global median score of 60, it means that both Jamaica and Trinidad fall just below the halfway mark.

There were 140 countries in this year's report compared to 135 last year, and the methodology behind the points has also changed.

Just below Jamaica this year is Lebanon, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. That compares to last year, when Jamaica was sandwiched between Iran and Morocco. Both countries have not fared as well this year, with Iran falling to 89th position and Morocco slipping slightly to 75 — but now ahead of Jamaica.


The highest-ranked country in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is Chile, which scored 70.3 points and ranked 33 in the world. The lowest ranked was Haiti with a score of 36.5 at 138, but neighbouring Dominican Republic scored 20 points higher than Haiti with 57.4 points and ranked at 82.

Mexico, ranked at 46, was second highest in the LAC, followed by Uruguay (53), Costa Rica (55) and Panama (64). Venezuela, ranked at 127, was second lowest in the LAC region.

Last year Jamaica was ranked four places below Colombia, which this year has improved its score from 66 to 60.

The United States was the highest-ranked country on the index of 140 countries, with last year's Switerland falling to fourth place. Singapore and Germany were second and third respectively.

The lowest-ranked country was Chad at 140.


There are 12 pillars to the report. Jamaica performed best for Pillar 8 — Labour Market placing 27, followed by Pillar 11 — Business Dynamism at 32, and Pillar 9 — Financial System at 50.

Jamaica ranked lowest for Pillar 10 — Market Size at 123, followed by Pillar 4 — Marcroeconmic Stability at 97, Pillar 3 — ICT Adoption at 91, and Pillar 1 — Institutions and Pillar 2 — Infrastructure, both at 82nd place.

For Pillar 5 — Health, Jamaica ranked 75th; Pillar 6 — Skills, 76; Pillar 7 — Product Market, 72; and Pillar 12 — Innovation Capability, 76.

The report stated that Jamaica's 10-year average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth was negative at -0.1 per cent with a GDP per capita of US$5,048.

The report also states that Jamaica controls 0.02 per cent of world GDP.


Within the 12 pillars there are 98 seperate indicators. Jamaica ranked very highly at first position in its ability to beat inflation, reducing its rate to 3.4 per cent, according to the report. But that feat wasn't extraodinary as 73 other countries accomplished the same thing.

Jamaica also ranked very highly at sixth position for the indicator of freedom of the press and for time to start a business (three days), ranking at 7th.

On the negative side, Jamaica's homicide rate placed it at 137th worst in the world and organised crime placed it at 134, while the reliability of its police force placed at 103.

Outside of security, there were other challenges, including electric power transmission and distribution losses, ranking it at 121st, the worst in the world. Its budget transparency was rated at 116th, again the worst in the world, and its e-participation index ranked it123rd.

Also negative was Jamaica's expenditure on R&D (118) and the efficiency of its clearance process (101).

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