By Shakeh Avoyan
Armenia has a less competitive economy than the majority of 133 other countries assessed in an annual global survey conducted by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), its authors said on Thursday.
The Armenian economy ranked only 97th in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2008-2009 released the same day. It slipped four places from the previous survey that covered 131 nations. Armenia’s aggregate GCI score similarly dropped from 3.8 to 3.7 in the past year.
“All in all, it can be concluded that there hasn’t been much change in term of our competitiveness,” said Manuk Hergnian, head of the Yerevan-based group Economy and Values which interviewed 100 local entrepreneurs for the worldwide poll.
The score assigned by the WEF is based on 12 “pillars of competitiveness,” including government transparency and fiscal responsibility; transport and telecommunications infrastructure; openness to innovation; intellectual property protection; and the ready availability of talent. Armenia was judged to be lacking competitiveness primarily because of the small size of its market, insufficient innovation as well as poor “technological readiness” and “business sophistication.”
Armenia would have fared even worse in the overall rankings had it not scored above the world average in the “labor market efficiency” category. It also received a relatively high mark for macroeconomic stability. Even so, the WEF said macroeconomic stability in the country has weakened considerably since the previous survey.
Pollsters asked business figures to rate the 134 countries surveyed according to factors that promote economic growth. Armenian entrepreneurs interviewed by the Economy and Values singled out government corruption and tax administration as the main obstacles to faster growth.