Estonia is the 32nd most competitive economy in the world

Estonia is the 32nd most competitive economy in the world

WEF said this year's rankings are not comparable to previous reports, as the organization transitioned to a new Competitiveness Index.

The changes in the methodology developed with regard to global trends were so profound and comprehensive that the WEF called it the new generation methodology "4.0".

Switzerland, which has long led the rankings, fell to fourth under the new methodology. Countries that ranked highly on measures - such as low tariffs, ease of hiring foreign labour and collaboration in patent application - tended to do well on innovation and market efficiency, WEF said.

The U.S. ranked first for three of the 12 pillars (labor market, financial systems, and business dynamism-a reflection on the nation's entrepreneurial culture) and second in two additional categories (market size and innovation capability).

Overall, the United States scored an average of 85.6 points when the almost 100 indicators were measured on a scale of 0 to 100, and was followed by Singapore and Germany.

This year, WEF used a new methodology to fully capture the dynamics of the global economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; numerous factors that will have the greatest impact on driving future competition have never been the focus of major policy decisions in the past.

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In a report that President Donald Trump is likely to see as validating his "Make America Great Again" drive, the USA placed ahead of Singapore and Germany in the 140-nation table.

The old rankings had docked marks from the United States for its macroeconomic environment, high government debt being a particular weakness. 70th ranking was for judicial independence and 77 for budget transparency.

Venezuela was ranked last in more than one category in the study, with the socialist nation being deemed the most corrupt, with the least future-prepared economy on the list. Germany came in third with a score of 82.8, Switzerland in fourth with 82.6, and Japan in fifth with 82.5.

"Nigeria, Yemen, South Africa, Pakistan and the Philippines are other countries with notable problems related to violence, crime or terrorism, and where the police are considered unreliable", the report read.

The WEF report also cautioned that the United States rate of adoption of information and communications technologies was fairly low compared to other advanced economies. A global innovation powerhouse. But technology is not a silver bullet on its own.

Zahidi however stressed that "technology is not a silver bullet on its own" and that "countries must invest in people and institutions to deliver on the promise of technology".

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