The World Economic Forum has analysed Syria’s economy for the first time, and praised it for having low corruption. It also says Syria’s economic infrastructure is efficient – with the exception of the airports and sea ports.
The health care and education systems also come in for praise, where progress has been made.
Syria is ranked 12 in the world for its competitiveness (compared to other countries at the same level of development). Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia were the only Arab countries to get a higher place in the table.
Syria’s economy has been the focus of liberalisation efforts in the past seven years, as political reforms have stalled. Bashar launched an anti-corruption drive months ago, which many laughed at. It seems to have paid dividends.
Earlier in his presidency, Deputy Prime Minister (and former World Bank official) Abdullah Dardari – seen as one of the country’s rising stars – opened the country’s economy up, creating a stock market, and allowing foreign private banks in for the first time.
The World Economic Forum did criticise Syria for the size of its budget defecit (it is spending more than it earns – mainly on a huge public sector, with far too many employees) and the size of its public debt (to fund that defecit).
They advise” “comprehensive liberalization of foreign trade and labour markets, facilitating access to finance for business as well as fostering the use of latest technologies”.
It was the first time the WEF studied Syria. The United Arab Emirates was rated as the Arab World’s most competitive economy – last year Qatar took that title.