The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018


The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 137 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. "Competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy".

In the report, the competitiveness is measured with a Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) (Rank (out of 137)), which is a weighted average of many different components, each measuring a different aspect of competitiveness. These components are grouped into 12 pillars of competitiveness, organised into 3 subindexes:

  • Basic requirements (Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic environment, Health and primary education),
  • Efficiency enhancers (Higher education and training, Goods market efficiency, Labor market efficiency, Financial market development, Technological readiness, Market size),
  • Innovation and sophistication factors (Business sophistication, Innovation)

Belgium is ranked 20th for the Global Competitiveness Index, dropping three places compared with the previous edition. Belgium's strengths are the pillars:

  • Health and primary education (5th) with the high quality of primary education (6th),
  • Higher education and training (11th) with the high secondary education enrollment rate (1st), whith the high quality of management schools (5th), the quality of math and science education (7th) and the availability of specialized training services (8th),
  • Goods market efficiency (16th) with foreign competition (9th)
  • Business sophistication (9th) with the high quality of local suppliers (8th), the nature of competitive advantage (8th) and the production process sophistication (8th),
  • Innovation (16th), with the quality of scientific research institutions (6th), the university-industry collaboration in R&D (9th) and the company spending on R&D (9th).

The Belgium's weaknesses are:

  • Macroeconomic environment (59th) with high level of public debt (124th).
  • Labour market efficiency (44th) with the weak flexibility of wage determination (115th) and strong rigidities in hiring and firing practices (114th). Belgium has a high tax rate which reduced the incentives to work(129th).
  • High total tax rate (122th) which reduces the incentives to invest (101th) and a high regulatory burden (99th).

The 4 most problematic factors for doing business identified in Belgium are:

  • Tax rates (23.7 percent of responses)
  • Restrictive labor regulations (16.1)
  • Complexity of tax regulations (16.0)
  • Inefficient government bureaucracy (14.6)

The GCI uses statistical data from internationally agencies, notably the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). To capture concepts that require a more qualitative assessment, GCI uses data from the World Economic Forum's annual Executive Opinion Survey.