The Global Competitiveness Report 2019


The World Economic Forum defined competitiveness as "the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country". The Global Competitive Index (GCI) forms the basis of the report. It measures performance according to 114 indicators that influence a nation’s productivity. The latest edition covered 141 economies, accounting for over 99% of the world’s GDP.

The GCI 4.0 is the product of an aggregation of 103 individual indicators, derived from a combination of data from international organizations as well as from the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey. Indicators are organized into 12 ‘pillars’: Institutions; Infrastructure; ICT adoption; Macroeconomic stability; Health; Skills; Product market; Labour market; Financial system; Market size; Business dynamism; and Innovation capability.

A country’s performance on the overall GCI results as well as each of its components is reported as a ‘progress score’ on a 0-to-100 scale, where 100 represents the ‘frontier’, an ideal state where an issue ceases to be a constraint to productivity growth. Each country should aim to move closer to the frontier on each component of the index.

Belgium is ranked 22nd (out of 141) for the Global Competitiveness Index 4.0, dropping one place compared with the previous edition.

Belgium's strengths (indicators with performances among Top 20 out of 141 economies) are:

  • In Pillar 1 Institutions (23rd, score of 69): Judicial independence, Freedom of the press, Incidence of corruption, Property rights, Intellectual property protection, Strength of auditing and reporting standards, Environment-related treaties in force.

  • In Pillar 2 Infrastructure (14th, score of 87): Railroad density, Efficiency of air transport services, Liner shipping connectivity, Efficiency of seaport services, Electricity access, Electricity supply quality, Exposure to unsafe drinking water, Reliability of water supply

  • Pillar 3 ICT adoption (47th, score of 67): Fixed-broadband Internet subscription.

  • In Pillar 4 Macroeconomic Stability (1st, score of 100): inflation and debt dynamics.

  • In Pillar 6 Skills (18th, score of 79): Extent of staff training, Quality of vocational training, Skillset of graduates, School life expectancy, Pupil-to-teacher ratio in primary education,

  • In Pillar 7 Product market (27th, score of 63): Extent of market dominance, Trade tariffs, Efficiency of the clearance process.

  • In Pillar 8 Labour market (43rd, score of 64): Workers' rights, Reliance on professional management.

  • In Pillar 9 Financial system (24th, score of 79): Insurance premium

  • In Pillar 10 Market size (33rd, score of 69): Imports of goods and services

  • In Pillar 11 Business dynamism (19th, score of 74): Time to start a business, Insolvency recovery rate, Willingness to delegate authority.

  • In Pillar 12 Innovation capability (17th, score of 71): State of cluster development, International co-inventions, Multi-stakeholder collaboration, Scientific publications, Patent applications, R&D expenditures.

The Belgium's weaknesses (indicators with performances after the 70st position) are:

  • Pillar 1 Institutions (23rd, score of 69): Terrorism incidence, Burden of government regulation, Shareholder governance, Government’s responsiveness to change, Government long-term vision

  • Pillar 3 ICT adoption (47th, score of 67): Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions, Fibre Internet subscriptions, Mobile-broadband subscriptions

  • Pillar 7 Product market (27st, score of 63): Prevalence of non-tariff barriers, Complexity of tariffs

  • Pillar 8 Labour market (43rd, score of 64): Redundancy costs, Hiring and firing practices, Flexibility of wage determination, Internal Labour mobility, Labour tax rate

  • Pillar 9 Financial system (24th, score of 79): Credit gap

  • Pillar 11: Business dynamism (19th, score of 74): Attitudes toward entrepreneurial risk