BY CHRONICLE STAFF
CAFTA is the most competitive regional subgroup in Latin America, while ALBA is the least competitive, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis of the 2007 Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum.
The six Latin American countries that belong to CAFTA had an average score of 3.84. That puts them ahead of 4-member Mercosur, with an average score of 3.78 and 4-member Andean Community with 3.76. Two CAFTA countries - Costa Rica and El Salvador - are also among the top five nations in Latin America in competitiveness.
The Global Competitiveness Index looks at competitiveness in 131 nations worldwide, including 18 in Latin America. It is based on twelve pillars of competitiveness, including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market sophistication, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
The index did not include Cuba, but an analysis of the scores for the other three ALBA members (Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela) shows an average of 3.54 - the worst of all regional economic and trade groups in Latin America.
Within each subgroup, these are the winners and losers:
- CAFTA: Costa Rica best, Nicaragua worst.
- Andean Community: Colombia best, Bolivia worst.
- Mercosur: Brazil best, Paraguay worst.
- ALBA: Venezuela best, Nicaragua worst.
Chile remains the most competitive country in Latin America, followed by Mexico and Panama. The three countries all score higher than CAFTA. Chile's score of 4.77 means that it's more competitive than EU countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Meanwhile, Mexico - Latin America's second-largest economy - has a score of 4.26, which puts it ahead of EU countries like Turkey, Cyprus and Malta.
"That's good news, but not good enough," Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens told an Inter-American Dialogue dinner in Miami last week. He was commenting on the index results.
The Mexican government has made improved competitiveness one of its...