For the second consecutive year, Spain remains in 36th place on the list of the most competitive countries in the world, according to the latest ‘World Competitiveness Ranking’, prepared annually by the IMD business school and which this year places it at the head of the 64 economies analyzed to Denmark, ahead of Ireland and Switzerland.

Spain’s position is mainly due to its results in the economic performance factor, where it rises to 32nd place from 35th last year, as well as in business efficiency, where it also advances three positions and ranks 37th.

Regarding the economic performance of Spain, its improvement in international investment stands out, where it ranks 11th, compared to 15th in 2022, as well as the improvement of seven positions in international trade, up to thirteenth place. On the contrary, it worsens to position 55 from 52 in employment and to 36 from 32 in prices.

Likewise, the study points out that Spain’s performance in the government efficiency factor continues to be a great weakness, since the country appears in 51st place, one more behind than last year.

In relation to the efficiency of the Government, the efficiency of the institutional framework and business legislation also continue to decline, the authors point out.

For José Caballero, senior economist at the World Competitiveness Center, “Spain’s strengths include high secondary school enrollment ratios (4), life expectancy (7), exports of commercial services (10) and the level of inequality with respect to life expectancy (10)”.

However, for the expert, Spain’s weaknesses include the unemployment rate (61), the low effectiveness of unemployment legislation (62), society’s understanding of the need for economic and social reforms (60) and the implementation of digital transformation in companies (56).

In this way, among the main challenges for the Spanish economy in 023 are the need to invest European funds efficiently, strengthening the productive system and configuring a resilient economy; manage inflation in such a way that it does not harm competitiveness, avoiding unnecessary indexation; reduce the tax burden and create a stable framework for companies; as well as improve the employability of workers and rethink employment policies within the framework of social dialogue.

The results of the 35th edition show that, despite the complex interplay of inflation, geopolitical risk and political fragmentation, the global competitiveness landscape remains dynamic, especially in Europe.

Likewise, in general terms, the list shows the gap between protectionist and free trade economies and how the combination of global political, economic and social events is favoring the appearance of “clear winners and losers”.

“Political fragmentation is a consequence of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine and one of its main effects is that a growing number of countries _Singapore, Saudi Arabia and India, for example_ pursue their own interests,” says Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, for whom with the relaxation of inflationary pressures and the uncertainty of the stock markets, it is now possible to distinguish winners and losers in a context in which multiple crises overlap

Among the winners are countries that have the agility and adaptability to cope with today’s unpredictable environment and with strong economies, as in the case of Ireland, Iceland and Bahrain, or with governments capable of timely adaptation of policies based on conditions. economies of the moment, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Singapore.

In this year’s edition Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland appear as the most competitive economies in the world. In the case of Denmark, the country maintains its privileged position at the top of the ranking, thanks to its continuous achievements in all competitiveness categories, leading in business efficiency and infrastructure, and improving slightly in government efficiency.

In the case of Ireland, rising from seventh to second place, the advance is largely supported by its significant achievements in terms of economic performance.

Switzerland, for its part, retains third place thanks to its good results in all categories, since it is the first country in government efficiency and infrastructures and ranks seventh in business efficiency.

In this sense, the authors highlight that the most prosperous economies tend to be smaller, have a good institutional framework that includes solid educational systems, as well as good access to markets and trading partners.

The rest of the top ten positions in the ranking are occupied by Singapore, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sweden, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

By region, although they are still the most competitive in the world, both East Asia (19th in 2023) and Western Europe (21st in 2023) fell slightly. The North American economies remain stable in 26th position (the same as in 2022), while Eastern Europe experiences the largest decrease in competitiveness (from 39th to 42nd place).