1 February 2021
The Netherlands ranks 4th in the group of countries that are best positioned to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) published the annual Global Competitive Report on how different countries develop economic recovery and a long-term transformation. According to this report, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries show most resilience and are well equipped to weather the storm. China is in fifth place.
In a year that has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this special edition of the WEF Competitiveness Report considers how countries are handling the pandemic. The report is based on data gathered from 37 countries mapped against 11 priorities. WEF points out that especially countries with advanced digital economies, strong social safety nets and robust healthcare systems, are doing well.
With high scores on almost all priority areas for economic transformation, the Global Competitiveness Report 2020 reveals that the Netherlands is “very well prepared”. The country is even in the top 3 twice when it comes to infrastructure and digital networks and skills and training for the future labor market. In addition, the Netherlands also scores well above average on reliable public institutions (4th place), expansion of the care infrastructure (5th place), and public-private partnerships for future markets (7th place). The country’s reliable public transport and good social facilities are also plus points, according to the report.
Aspects of resilience during a crisis
The 2020 pandemic has been a shock for all countries, and no economy has been untouched by it. However, in this context, it was possible for WEF to identify the features that helped countries better manage the impact of the pandemic. The Global Competitiveness Report indicates four dimensions as particularly important to be resilient in this specific crisis:
• First, countries with advanced digital economies. For instance, countries that could leverage flexible work arrangements (Netherlands, Switzerland and Estonia) and those where digital skills are most widespread, could partially adjust by increasing the digitalization of their economic activity.
• Second, safety nets and financial soundness. Multiple segments of the economy had to cope with full lockdowns or reduced business activity. The countries that already had in place strong safety nets, were better placed to recover livelihoods.
• Third, governance and planning. Countries coordinating the health measures with fiscal and social policies, have been relatively more successful mitigating the crisis effects.
• Lastly, countries with experiences with previous epidemics, have built up better protocols and technological systems. Those nations were better able to isolate the epidemic than others.
About the WEF Global Competitiveness Report
Every year WEF releases its benchmark Global Competitiveness Report that looks at 98 indicators to determine the overall ranking. Each indicator signifies how close an economy is to the ideal state or “frontier” of competitiveness. In 2019, the Netherlands was ranked the most competitive economy in Europe for the first time. Worldwide, only Singapore, the United States and Hong Kong were ahead of the Netherlands.
This special edition of the Global Competitiveness Report combines historical data, unique indicators, and the results of expert discussions. It highlights priorities to not only re-boot growth, but also to set a new direction that will deliver sustainable and inclusive success in the years to come.
In 2021, the report will revert to a benchmarking exercise, which will provide a new compass for the future direction of economic growth.