Items filtered by date: Sunday, 21 October 2018

How well countries adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will determine whether they ‘thrive’ or ‘stagnate’ and could further divide workforces and increase social tensions, according to the latest version of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

Almost 40 years after its first annual assessment of the global economy, the Forum’s 2018 report uses new methodology to understand the full impact of the 4IR, and finds factors including human capital, agility, resilience, openness and innovation becoming increasingly important.

The new index measures 140 economies against 98 indicators, organized into 12 ‘pillars’ or drivers of productivity, to determine how close the economy is to the ideal state or ‘frontier’ of competitiveness.

The US topped the rankings, being ‘closest to the competitiveness frontier’, with Singapore, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, completing the top five. At the other end of the scale, Haiti, Yemen and Chad were found to be the least competitive economies.

Competitiveness is not only associated with higher incomes, but also better socioeconomic outcomes, including life satisfaction.

Explaining the new approach to measuring competitiveness, Thierry Geiger, Head, Research and Regional Impact, Future of Economic Progress at the World Economic Forum, said: “Productivity is the single most important driver of growth in 2018. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution in full swing, there is a need to rethink the drivers of competitiveness and therefore of long-term growth.

“Those new drivers include adaptability and agility of all stakeholders, including the governments. To what extent are they able to embrace change and adapt to change and upgrade their economies?”

Top of the index

The US scored 85.6 out of 100 to top the index, coming in the top three for seven of the 12 pillars. Its entrepreneurial culture saw it score highly in the business dynamism pillar. It also scored highly for its labour market and financial system.

But there were several areas which showed it still has more to do. It notably drops behind other advanced economies in the health pillar, with a life expectancy of 67.7 years, putting it in 46th place. And it was far from the frontier for checks and balances (40th place), judicial independence (15th) and corruption (16th).

The top 11 countries all score above 80 points for competitiveness. Second-placed Singapore (83.5) is defined by its high score for openness and it leads the way for infrastructure, with a near-perfect score of 95.7 for its world-beating transport system.

Germany, in third place, is the highest placed European economy for competitiveness, with particular strength in innovation capability (first place, with 88), business dynamism (82, second behind the US) and health (94).

Room for improvement

One of the key findings from the report is that all economies could do better in certain areas. For example, while Singapore might be the most ‘future-ready’ economy, Finland outdoes it for having a digitally skilled workforce.

And while low and and middle-income economies can leverage technology to jumpstart growth, the report emphasises the importance of ‘old’ developmental pillars, such as governance, infrastructure and skills.

Worryingly, of the 140 economies surveyed, 117 still lagged behind for quality of institutions, which impacted their overall competitiveness.

There was also widespread weakness at mastering the innovation process, with 103 countries scoring lower than 50 when it comes to following through from idea generation to commercial product.

Credit: WEF

Published in World

The operations last week against migrants triggered clashes between Congolese, security forces and local Angolans.

Life fell apart last week for mother of four Dorcas who was among 200,000 Congolese attacked and then forcibly thrown out of neighbouring Angola despite having lived there for a decade.

Speaking in Kamako, a frontier town in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, the woman in her forties said she and her husband had made their lives in the Angolan border town of Lupaca until the nightmare began.

“There were rumours circulating that the Angolan authorities would be expelling foreigners,” from Lunda Norte province which borders on DRC, she said.

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola carry belongings near the Congolese border town of Kamako, on October 12, 2018, after returning to their country following a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. – Angola has returned over 180,000 illegal migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo back across the border since the start of the security crackdown, Angolan authorities saidon October 9.
Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths. (Photo by Sosthene KAMBIDI / AFP)

“Suddenly on Monday (last week) we saw youths from the Tchiokwe community with Angolan policemen starting to burn the homes of those perceived to be foreigners.

“When they came to our house, they attacked my husband with a machete and we were forced to flee taking whatever little we could carry,” she said.

“All our children were born in Angola and only speak Portuguese,” she said.

Angola was a former Portuguese colony while DR Congo was ruled by the Belgians and is a francophone country.

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola stand in truck as they leave the Congolese border town of Kamako, on October 12, 2018, after returning to their country following a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. – Angola has returned over 180,000 illegal migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo back across the border since the start of the security crackdown, Angolan authorities saidon October 9.
Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths. (Photo by Sosthene KAMBIDI / AFP)

Oil-rich Angola attracts hordes of Congolese as it is relatively more stable and offers better employment prospects.

DR Congo has an abundance of mineral wealth but large swathes are rocked by unrest and violence unleashed by rebel groups and militias from within and neighbouring nations such as Uganda and Rwanda.

The operations last week against migrants triggered clashes between Congolese, security forces and local Angolans.

Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths or forcible repatriations.

Lunda Norte’s governor, Ernesto Muangala, on Saturday said that that “more than 200,000 Congolese living illegally in Angola have been repatriated on a voluntary basis.”

Trucks were seen plying incessantly over the weekend taking Congolese nationals to the border from Dundo, the capital of Lunda Norte.

Several Congolese patiently waited outside the Angolan consulate in Kamako, brandishing their Angolan residence permits. The doors of the mission were closed.

“What are we going to do in DRC? We have all lived in Lucapa for 10 or 20 years,” said Daniel Mukenge, a man in his forties.

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola gather near the Congolese border town of Kamako, on October 12, 2018, after returning to their country following a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. – Angola has returned over 180,000 illegal migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo back across the border since the start of the security crackdown, Angolan authorities saidon October 9.
Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths. (Photo by Sosthene KAMBIDI / AFP)

‘We are condemned to death here’

“Our papers are all in order. We have invested and built homes,” he said.

“Now the authorities are refusing to recognise the documents that they themselves delivered. We are now asking our authorities to intervene so that the Angolan authorities buy our houses otherwise we are condemned to death here,” he said.

An Angolan official at the consulate meanwhile told the group: “The solution does not lie here.”

And an Angolan immigration official at the Kamako border outpost feigned incredulity.

“How can these people refuse to go back to their country? It makes me laugh,” he said.

The Congolese authorities say they are struggling to cope with the returnees, with up to 1,000 arrivals every hour.

Congolese migrants who were living in Angola carry belongings in the Congolese border town of Kamako, on October 12, 2018, after returning to their country following a security crackdown by Angolan authorities. – Angola has returned over 180,000 illegal migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo back across the border since the start of the security crackdown, Angolan authorities saidon October 9.
Local media and an NGO reported that several migrants have been killed, though Angolan authorities deny any deaths. (Photo by Sosthene KAMBIDI / AFP)

“At this rate we cannot register them,” said Mahieu Boma, a local official from the national commission of refugees.

In Kamako, the new arrivals take shelter wherever they can — under mango trees, in schools and churches.

Sunday mass in many churches began late as a result of the influx.

“For the present, there are 750 families of between three and four people each who are sheltering in our facilities,” said Father Crispin Mfamba from the local Saint Gabriel parish.

Dorcas meanwhile has lost track of one of her four children during the move.

“We are here in Kamako without money,” she said. “We are selling what little we have so that we can eat.

“My four-year-old child has disappeared and I sold my dress for $1.20 to pay for a radio announcement to help find my child,” she said.

 

Source: AFP

Published in Economy

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