The UK has overtaken Hong Kong, Japan and Finland to climb three places to number seven in the influential World Economic Forum (WEF) ranking of the world's most competitive economies. The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 138 economies, providing unique insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.
The UK's strong digital offering, world-leading institutions and infrastructure, its business-friendly regulation and strong connections to the international economy were sighted by the WEF as powering the UK's climb up the rankings, reversing last year's fall to 10th place.
Commenting on the findings, Richard Samans, WEF Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda and Member of the Managing Board, says: "The report is being launched at a time of rising income inequality, mounting social and political tensions, and a general feeling of uncertainty about the future. Growth remains persistently low: commodity prices have fallen, as had trade; external imbalances are increasing; and government finances are stressed. However, it also comes during one of the most prosperous and peaceful times in recorded history, with less disease, poverty, and violent conflict than ever before. Against this backdrop of seeming contradictions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings both unprecedented opportunity and an accelerated speed of change."
UK Chancellor Philip Hammond said the results "demonstrate our ability to sharpen our edge and improve our competitiveness," adding that "This government will build on that progress, as we demonstrate to the world that Britain continues to be highly competitive and open for business."
In this time of uncertainty and change, SME business owners must capitalise on opportunities and remain competitive by keeping up with the changing times and listening to and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers.
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