Thailand surpassed its fellow Southeast Asian country, the Philippines, in the latest Global Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). According to the 2019 rankings, Thailand came in at 38th place out of 137 economies, while the Philippines was listed at 61st spot.
Compiled annually, the Global Competitiveness Index assesses multiple dimensions that drive national productivity, including institutional frameworks, infrastructure, research and development capabilities, talent and workforce diversity, information technology adoption, market size, and others. Based on these indicators, the index offers a comprehensive analysis of how nations fare globally when it comes to fostering business growth, driving innovation, and facilitating trade.
Despite encountering strong competition from other developing economies within Asia Pacific, Thailand managed to hold its ground thanks largely to recent policy reforms. One example includes Thai authorities making considerable headway in expanding the nation’s already extensive transportation system with plans to develop high-speed trains along key routes and bolster urban mobility via light rail transit lines. In parallel, the Bangkok government launched initiatives targeting science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) skills building alongside investments in startup incubation programs and venture financing schemes.
Meanwhile, the Philippines showed some improvement in this year’s evaluation as well, climbing one notch higher than last year’s placement at number 62. Local policymakers concentrated mostly on addressing structural barriers hampering domestic economic expansion, particularly red tape reduction efforts and reform packages geared toward easing entry hurdles for prospective business owners. Furthermore, Manila implemented measures to enhance public budget management practices together with efforts designed to improve the ease of doing business across different sectors.
However, despite noticeable strides taken by the government, persistent issues remain that impede greater gains in the near term. Foremost among them is rampant corruption within the ranks of the bureaucracy. In addition, political instability resulting from the looming May 2022 presidential elections might divert attention away from much-needed long-term economic planning. To tackle these obstacles effectively, both Filipino lawmakers and private entities alike will likely require coordinated action on several fronts involving anti-graft legislation updates coupled with increased cooperation between parties pursuing democratic ideals and transparent policy formation. As both nations navigate these hurdles, they should strive to leverage each other’s strengths to fortify regional cohesion and jointly achieve shared goals.