THE SLOVAK economy’s position in the International Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook improved slightly.

The IMD is an annual report on the competitiveness of nations, which has been published since 1989. The yearbook benchmarks the performance of 60 countries based on 338 criteria measuring different facets of competitiveness, of which two thirds are “hard statistical” data from international and national sources and one third is culled from survey data from 4,400 top managers (Executive Opinion Survey).

Compared to the previous year, Slovakia improved its position by two spots, ending 45th, the SITA newswire reported, quoting the yearbook, which was done in cooperation with the Slovak branch of the F.A. Hayek foundation. Slovakia placed the highest before the crisis, when it ended around 30th, while in 2009, it dropped to 49th – its worst-ever score to date.

Head of the F.A. Hayek Foundation Matúš Pošvanc told SITA, however, that Slovakia’s improvement in the ranking does not necessarily mean that the business environment has actually improved. This can be caused by other countries performing worse, like Italy, for example, which placed lower this year at 46th, just behind Slovakia.

Slovakia’s competitiveness has not changed, however, within the Visegrad Four region, in which the Czech Republic (33) came out on top, followed by Poland (36), Slovakia and Hungary (48).

F.A. Hayek Foundation’s analyst Martin Reguli opined for SITA that behind the country’s improvement is an increase in economic output due to foreign demand, an increase in technology exports, lower inflation and improvements in corruption and justice. “However, the problem of Slovakia remains the effectiveness of the government and government measures, the issue of administration and to some extent also the issue of public finances,” he concluded.

Despite the fact that state of the Slovak judiciary was evaluated slightly better than in the preceding year, reducing corruption and increasing transparency while re-establishing trust in judiciary remain the biggest challenges for the growth of the Slovak economy’s competitiveness, according to the survey. Other goals include improving the effectiveness of public administration and education, supporting innovation and research, and increasing the flexibility of the labour market.

(Source: IMD survey, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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