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 What is Competitiveness?

​​​​The definition of competitiveness differs with the different institutions and fields in this area. Basically competitiveness has started in the private sector and established its own standards. Later on the concept has changed and became at the states’ level thus setting different standards. There are two main axes to measure the states’ competitiveness. These two axes are: sustainable development and infrastructure standards.

Most reports define competitiveness as the states’ efforts to perfectly exploit all of its resources in order to achieve prosperity for its people and to ensure sustainable development through using the best methods and practices. Competitiveness is considered as a modern term in the management and economics science which aims to determine the foundations, principles, and standards that measure the levels of the states’ competitiveness, competency, distinction, and development reached by its people in different political, economic, social, and cultural fields. The competitiveness standards vary according to the measuring institutions. There are different kinds of institutions, international institutions such as World Bank, and World Economic Forum (WEF), independent institutions such as the International Institute for Management Development IMD in Switzerland, and institutions that publish reports specializing in certain sectors like travel, tourism, transportation, communication, health, education and other sectors.

Competitiveness in general aims to show the states’ strengths and to be introduced to the improvement areas in the economic, political, and social fields. It also identifies the best practices in those fields and presents policies samples, programs, and successful projects from the developed countries to the developing ones. The different international institutions publish competitiveness reports annually which contain a list of the states’ general ranking that are ranked according to other economic and social standards.


  • Elements of Competitiveness:
    • The states’ published statistics, numbers, and official information.
    • Laws, systems, and policies.
    • Infrastructure and public utilities.
    • Questionnaires and views.
  • Measuring competitiveness:
    • Reports framework (countries, cities, regions, institutions)
    • Standards’ nature (political, economic, social, and cultural)
    • Report’s objective ( policies, regulations, infrastructure)


International institutions that publish international competitiveness reports depend on various sources to conduct data and information about countries. The most important resources are: Field surveys, oriented questionnaires, official statistics of the country, international organizations reports such as the United Nations, and the World Bank, and credit institutions.


The international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank allow the states’ representatives to review the improvement programs recommended by the reports and to provide advice and guidance to the representatives of these states.


The Most Important International Competitiveness Reports and Their Resources:

  • There are over 40 international competitiveness reports issued by different international institutions.
  • Some of the competitiveness reports include the various political, economic, and social fields. The most important of which are:
    • Reports issued by the World Bank.
    • Reports issued by the World Economic Forum.
    • The annual competitiveness book issued by the International Institute for Management Development IMD in Lausanne in Switzerland.
  • There are competitiveness reports in specific fields that include one standard only:
    • Transparency International Annual Report issued by Transparency International.
    • The World Happiness Report issued by the United Nations.
    • The Global Enabling Trade Report issued by World Economic Forum
    • The Legatum Prosperity Index issued by the Legatum institute

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