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Trinidad & Tobago move up in Global Competitiveness Rankings

For Release Upon Receipt - September 23, 2009

St. Augustine

Trinidad and Tobago has this year moved up six places in The World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report (GCR). This country improved from last year’s ranking of 92 to 86, thanks in part to macroeconomic stability and financial market sophistication, which continue to be pillars of strength.  

GCR rankings are based on publicly available data and an Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) carried out by the World Economic Forum.  The University of the West Indies (UWI) Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business is one of the partner institutes for Trinidad and Tobago to execute the EOS.

The GCR, released on September 8th, noted, “The competitiveness landscape described by the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) this year for Latin America and the Caribbean is fairly encouraging.”   Other countries within this region realising important advances in the midst of a major external shock on export demand and financing availability, brought about by the current global economic crisis and lower commodity prices were Uruguay (up 10 places), Brazil (up 8 places), Colombia and Peru (both up 5 places), and Costa Rica (up 4 places). This reflects the rather strong footing of most of the countries in the region that enables them to weather the crisis, thanks to the sounder macroeconomic fundamentals achieved in recent years. Most notable among these are reduced debt levels and increased foreign currency reserves.

The number one position in the WEF ranking went to Switzerland, which replaced the United States in the ranking of most competitive countries for doing business. "The United States falls one place to second position, with weakening in its financial markets and macroeconomic stability," said the Geneva-based foundation.

The report showed economies with a large focus on financial services such as the U.S., Britain or Iceland, were the losers in the crisis.

The WEF applauded Switzerland for its capacity to innovate, its sophisticated business culture, effective public services, excellent infrastructure and well-functioning goods markets.

The Swiss economy also had to bail out UBS, its largest bank after dipping into recession last year. However, most other banks have escaped the wrath of the crisis and the economy has held up better than many counterparts.

Rounding off the top five positions were Singapore, Sweden and Denmark respectively, followed by Finland, Germany and Japan, which moved up one place. Canada and the Netherlands closed the top 10. China edged up slightly, from number 30 in 2008 to 29 this year, while Russia dropped from 51 to 63.

Professor Miguel Carrillo, Executive Director of the Lok Jack GSB noted, “This year’s report underscores that in today’s difficult economic environment it is important for us not to lose sight of long-term competitiveness fundamentals amid short-term urgencies.  Competitive economies like those within the top 10 positions are those that have in place factors driving the productivity enhancements on which their present and future prosperity is built. A competitiveness supporting economic environment can help national economies to weather business cycle downturns and ensure that the mechanisms enabling solid economic performance going into the future are in place.”]

For more information, contact the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Communications Unit at (868) 662-9894 Ext 339.

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Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.


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