South Africa is ranked 53rd this year, overtaking Brazil to place second among the BRICS. South Africa does well on measures of the quality of its institutions (41st), including intellectual property protection (18th), property rights (20th), and in the efficiency of the legal framework in challenging and settling disputes (13th and 12th, respectively). The high accountability of its private institutions (2nd) further supports the institutional framework.
Furthermore, South Africa’s financial market development remains impressive at 3rd place. The country also has an efficient market for goods and services (28th), and it does reasonably well in more complex areas such as business sophistication (35th) and innovation (39th). But the country’s strong ties to advanced economies, notably the euro area, make it more vulnerable to their economic slowdown and likely have contributed to the deterioration of fiscal indicators: its performance in the macroeconomic environment has dropped sharply (from 69th to 95th).
Mauritius moves up by nine places this year to 45th place, becoming the highest ranked country in the sub-saharan region.
Low scores for the diversion of public funds (99th), the perceived wastefulness of government spending (79th), and a more general lack of public trust in politicians (98th) remain worrisome, and security continues to be a major area of concern for doing business (at 109th).
Building a skilled labor force and creating sufficient employment also present considerable challenges. The health of the workforce is ranked 133rd out of 148 economies-the result of high rates of communicable diseases and poor health indicators more generally.
The quality of the educational system is very poor (146th), with low primary and tertiary enrollment rates. Labor market efficiency is poor (116th), hiring and firing practices are extremely rigid (147th), companies cannot set wages flexibly (144th), and significant tensions in labor-employer relations exist (148th). Raising educational standards and making the labor market more efficient will thus be critical in view of the country’s high unemployment rate of over 20 percent, with the rate of youth unemployment estimated at close to 50 percent. For the full report, click here!