Most Competitive Countries in the World (2019-2023)

Ranking of the most competitive countries around the world

Just as a well-designed ship needs fair weather for a smooth voyage, companies need a supportive ecosystem to get started and continue to be successful.

Rankings of the most competitive countries attempt to quantify this subsidy directly, while finding out which economies have the best frameworks for business to thrive. Examining how rankings change over time can also tell us a lot about how countries fare compared to others.

In the drawing above, Julie Paisley Uses Global Competitiveness Ranking The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) report to chart the top 20 most competitive countries between 2019 and 2023.

How is business competitiveness measured?

IMD examines countries on the basis of four metrics across multiple sub-factors:

  • economic performance:
    Domestic economy, international trade, international investment, employment, prices
  • Government Efficiency:
    Public finance, tax policy, institutional framework, commercial legislation, and societal framework
  • Business Efficiency:
    Productivity and efficiency, labor market, finance, management practices, attitudes and values
  • infrastructure:
    Basic Infrastructure, Technological Infrastructure, Scientific Infrastructure, Health and Environment, Education

These metrics are scored based on a combination of rigorous statistics, surveys from partner institutes, and supplemental data.

What are the best and worst countries for business?

Denmark It retained the top spot as the most business-friendly country in 2023, after being ranked first for the first time in 2022. The Scandinavian country has been a perennial top 10 performer since 2018 but has really begun its climb to the top in the past four years.

The country excels in the categories of business efficiency, government efficiency, and infrastructure metrics, despite relatively average economic performance next to some of its geographic peers.

Rank (2023) nation 2019 2020 2021 2022
1 🇩🇰 Denmark 8 2 3 1
2 🇮🇪 Ireland 7 12 13 11
3 🇨🇭 Switzerland 4 3 1 2
4 🇸🇬 Singapore 1 1 5 3
5 🇳🇱 Netherlands 6 4 4 6
6 🇹🇼 Taiwan 16 11 8 7
7 🇭🇰 Hong Kong 2 5 7 5
8 🇸🇪 Sweden 9 6 2 4
9 🇺🇸 United States 3 10 10 10
10 🇦🇪 Emirates 5 9 9 12
11 🇫🇮 Finland 15 13 11 8
12 🇶🇦 Qatar 10 14 17 18
13 🇧🇪 Belgium 27 25 24 21
14 🇳🇴 Norway 11 7 6 9
15 🇨🇦 Canada 13 8 14 14
16 🇮🇸 Iceland 20 21 21 16
17 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 26 24 32 24
18 🇨🇿 Czech Republic 33 33 34 26
19 🇦🇺 Australia 18 18 22 19
20 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 12 15 12 13
21 🇨🇳 China 14 20 16 17
22 🇩🇪 Germany 17 17 15 15
23 🇮🇱 Israel 24 26 27 25
24 🇦🇹 Austria 19 16 19 20
25 🇧🇭 Bahrain Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable 30
26 🇪🇪 Estonia 35 28 26 22
27 🇲🇾 Malaysia 22 27 25 32
28 🇰🇷 South Korea 28 23 23 27
29 🇬🇧 United Kingdom 23 19 18 23
30 🇹🇭 Thailand 25 29 28 33
31 🇳🇿 New Zealand 21 22 20 31
32 🇱🇹 Lithuania 29 31 30 29
33 🇫🇷 France 31 32 29 28
34 🇮🇩 Indonesia 32 40 37 44
35 🇯🇵 Japan 30 34 31 34
36 🇪🇸 Spain 36 36 39 36
37 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan 34 42 35 43
38 🇰🇼 Kuwait Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable
39 🇵🇹 Portugal 39 37 36 42
40 🇮🇳 India 43 43 43 37
41 🇮🇹 Italy 44 44 41 41
42 🇸🇮 Slovenia 37 35 40 38
43 🇵🇱 Poland 38 39 47 50
44 🇨🇱 Chile 42 38 44 45
45 🇨🇾 Cyprus 41 30 33 40
46 🇭🇺 Hungary 47 47 42 39
47 🇹🇷 Türkiye 51 46 51 52
48 🇷🇴 Romania 49 51 48 51
49 🇬🇷 Greece 58 49 46 47
50 🇭🇷 Croatia 60 60 59 46
51 🇱🇻 Latvia 40 41 38 35
52 🇵🇭 Philippines 46 45 52 48
53 🇸🇰 Slovak Republic 53 57 50 49
54 🇯🇴 Jordan 57 58 49 56
55 🇵🇪 Peru 55 52 58 54
56 🇲🇽 Mexico 50 53 55 55
57 🇧🇬 Bulgaria 48 48 53 53
58 🇨🇴 Colombia 52 54 56 57
59 🇧🇼 Botswana Unavailable Unavailable 61 58
60 🇧🇷 Brazil 59 56 57 59
61 🇿🇦 South Africa 56 59 62 60
62 🇲🇳 Mongolia 62 61 60 61
63 🇦🇷 Argentina 61 62 63 62
64 🇻🇪 Venezuela 63 63 64 63
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Close to second place is Irelandit has jumped five places since 2019. The country’s strong economic performance has helped it break into the top tier after it has bounced around the top 15 rankings in the past few years.

The third rank is Switzerland which has been in the top five since 2018, and reached first place in 2021. While the country scores well in several key indicators, it loses points in sub-factors such as lack of business development and IPO offerings.

Singaporewhich was previously ranked as the most competitive country in 2019 and 2020, secured fourth place in 2023. Unlike Denmark and Switzerland, the heavy Asian financial center scores well in economic performance but loses steam from government efficiency.

at the bottom of the list, Venezuela, Argentina and Mongolia They face significant business competitiveness challenges in 2023. These countries suffer from a trio of poor economic performance, low business and government efficiency, and substandard infrastructure, which hinders business growth and development. Macro developments also play a major role in their fortunes. For example, Mongolia suffered in following the sanctions On Russia, a major trading partner.

Change the rankings to the most competitive countries

Although some countries have consistently placed in the rankings of the most competitive countries, there are also countries that have had more noteworthy ups and downs.

China And Germany Both were in the top 20 consistently through 2022, but both were just below that standard in the 2023 rankings.

and the we It is still in the top ten but has fallen six places compared to other economies in the past five years. The country’s economic strength is indisputable, but the ratings have fallen for the business landscape and measures of government efficiency.

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Here are the five-year changes in the ranking for all of the countries recorded in the IMD report, ranked from largest increase to largest decrease:

nation Change (2019-2023) Rank (2023)
🇨🇿 Czech Republic +15 18
🇧🇪 Belgium +14 13
🇹🇼 Taiwan +10 6
🇭🇷 Croatia +10 50
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia +9 17
🇪🇪 Estonia +9 26
🇬🇷 Greece +9 49
🇩🇰 Denmark +7 1
🇮🇪 Ireland +5 2
🇫🇮 Finland +4 11
🇮🇸 Iceland +4 16
🇹🇷 Türkiye 4 47
🇮🇳 India 3 40
🇮🇹 Italy 3 41
🇯🇴 Jordan 3 54
🇨🇭 Switzerland +1 3
🇳🇱 Netherlands +1 5
🇸🇪 Sweden +1 8
🇮🇱 Israel +1 23
🇭🇺 Hungary +1 46
🇷🇴 Romania +1 48
🇰🇷 South Korea 0 28
🇪🇸 Spain 0 36
🇵🇹 Portugal 0 39
🇸🇰 Slovak Republic 0 53
🇵🇪 Peru 0 55
🇲🇳 Mongolia 0 62
🇦🇺 Australia -1 19
🇧🇷 Brazil -1 60
🇻🇪 Venezuela -1 64
🇶🇦 Qatar -2 12
🇨🇦 Canada -2 15
🇫🇷 France -2 33
🇮🇩 Indonesia -2 34
🇨🇱 Chile -2 44
🇦🇷 Argentina -2 63
🇸🇬 Singapore -3 4
🇳🇴 Norway -3 14
🇱🇹 Lithuania -3 32
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan -3 37
🇨🇾 Cyprus -4 45
🇭🇰 Hong Kong -5 7
🇦🇪 Emirates -5 10
🇩🇪 Germany -5 22
🇦🇹 Austria -5 24
🇲🇾 Malaysia -5 27
🇹🇭 Thailand -5 30
🇯🇵 Japan -5 35
🇸🇮 Slovenia -5 42
🇵🇱 Poland -5 43
🇿🇦 South Africa -5 61
🇺🇸 United States -6 9
🇬🇧 United Kingdom -6 29
🇵🇭 Philippines -6 52
🇲🇽 Mexico -6 56
🇨🇴 Colombia -6 58
🇨🇳 China -7 21
🇱🇺 Luxembourg -8 20
🇧🇬 Bulgaria -9 57
🇳🇿 New Zealand -10 31
🇱🇻 Latvia -11 51
🇧🇭 Bahrain Unavailable 25
🇰🇼 Kuwait Unavailable 38
🇧🇼 Botswana Unavailable 59
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the Czech Republic And Belgium They’ve made great strides in improving their business environments since 2019, moving up 15 and 14 places in the rankings over the past half-decade, respectively.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Also achieved steady gains thanks to a series of Pro-business reforms In the last years. Together with the Czech Republic, 2023 was the first year that the two countries topped the list of the top 20 most competitive countries.

On the other side, Latvia And New Zealand It fell the most competitively, dropping 11 and 10 places, respectively. Latvia and its neighbors in the Baltic region are dealing with a difficult geopolitical environment and the risk of a recession with instability in the region, while New Zealand is noted for dealing with brain drain and inflexibility in the face of climate change.

Examine the competitiveness of the business

Business competitiveness is one of many measures of a country’s performance, including GDP, income, livability, and even happiness ratings.

As with other measurements, it is important to consider the nuances and disparities between countries when applying a one-size-fits-all rating system.

For example, more populous countries are classified as relatively poorer. the we Ranked #2 when considering only countries with populations over 20 million, China is the most competitive country with a per capita GDP of less than $20,000.

And while criticisms about the subjectivity of these classifications may be valid, looking at these types of breakdowns can bring unique insights into broad social questions, and can be used as a tool to aid policymakers.

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This article was published as part of the Visual Capitalist Creators Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite creators around the world.

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