Zimbabwe continues to rank high for the wrong reasons. For example, Zimbabwe has recurrently stayed in the top 10 countries with the worst food price surges in the world. According to the latest statistics, Zimbabwe is ranked number 4 globally with respect to food inflation. Food inflation is roughly 102 percent (and rising) in Zimbabwe. As for year-on-year food price inflation, Zimbabwe jumped to first place globally at 285 percent. It far eclipsed countries like Venezuela and Lebanon, which is very disturbing. Today let us explore Zimbabwe’s current ranking on the Global Competitiveness Index.

What Is The Global Competitiveness Index?

According to the World Bank, the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is a comprehensive index used to capture national competitiveness’s microeconomic and macroeconomic foundations. The index explores institutions, factors, and policies central to a nation’s productiveness (or lack thereof). There are almost 100 variables that are scrutinized. When all is put together, a nation is given a score and then ranked out of the nations. The higher the score means, the higher the global competitiveness.

Zimbabwe On A Path of Decline

Looking over the years, it is apparent Zimbabwe’s competitiveness is plummeting. In 2019, Zimbabwe’s score was 44.24 (out of a possible 100). Returning to the period from 2007 to 2019, you will see Zimbabwe’s average score was 128.08. In 2011, Zimbabwe’s score was 136 – which was an all-time high to date. Fast forward to 2023, and Zimbabwe’s score is down to 24.5, thus placing it at a position or global rank of 119. From 2011 to 2023, Zimbabwe’s Global Competitiveness Index score has decreased by 81 percent. Let us look at some of the highlights from our current ranking.

Where Zimbabwe Is Doing Well

Despite clearly many problematic areas, Zimbabwe is doing well in some aspects. For example, Zimbabwe is doing well in the empowerment of women. It is also doing well in promoting gender equality. This is all with respect to jobs requiring high-end skill sets. Zimbabwe is also doing well in the vocational and technical skills sector. The presence of skilled professionals and the relevance of what is taught are considerably high in that sector. The majority of people working in that sector have secondary education or higher.

Where Zimbabwe Is Not Doing Well

There is a serious brain drain occurring in Zimbabwe. It has mostly been the case over the years but has worsened. It is also exacerbated by the lack of brain gain to offset the brain drain. Minorities are still not considerably tolerated in Zimbabwe; it is still a huge issue. There is also limited social mobility in the country. The uptake of technology is still quite low in Zimbabwe. Expenditure on Research and Development is still very low in Zimbabwe. This is an issue I have often cited over the years.

As you all know, corruption is still a huge vice in Zimbabwe. Poor regulatory frameworks worsen this. Regarding tertiary education, the scores for Zimbabwe are quite low. Enrolment, especially in business masters programs, is very low. Youth inclusion in this space is paltry as well. There are few to no online professional hubs in this space too. Regarding the number of Zimbabwean workers with tertiary education, Zimbabwe is found seriously wanting. Even when you look at the whole Zimbabwean population, most people do not have tertiary education.

This summarises some noteworthy points from the current Global Competitiveness Index Report. What is evident is that more needs to be done in Zimbabwe. This is not to take away from some of the good; that is all appreciated. However, that tends to overshadow the low points that need attention.

The biggest hurdle stifling all core sectors in Zimbabwe is corruption. As long as that remains unaddressed, it will be hard to implement winning strategies. Another area that needs concerted efforts is research and development. I always give the example of Israel. Physically Israel is not that big, but it has a GDP of roughly US$500 billion. Zimbabwe’s GDP is roughly US$30 billion. Yet Israel’s land size is 18 times smaller than Zimbabwe’s. Israel invests nearly 5 percent of its GDP in research and development (R&D). Compared to US’s roughly 3 percent and Europe’s 2 percent. This makes Israel the nation with the biggest R&D intensity globally. This shows that the more you invest in research and development, the more your GDP grows.