Full report
Published: 16 December 2020

Global Competitiveness Report Special Edition 2020: How Countries are Performing on the Road to Recovery


Klaus Schwab Founder and Executive Chairman

Saadia Zahidi Managing Director

The combined health and economic shocks of 2020 have impacted the livelihoods of millions of households, disrupted business activities, and exposed the fault lines in today’s social protection and healthcare systems. The crisis has also further accelerated the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on trade, skills, digitization, competition and employment, and highlighted the disconnect between our economic systems and societal resilience.

In this moment, it is crucial to not only reflect on how best to return to growth, but also, how to build back better economies that improve outcomes for people and the planet. This special edition of the Global Competitiveness Report provides the basis to support such deeper reflection, providing policymakers with priorities across three timeframes: those priorities that emerged from before the crisis, those priorities that are critical for the shorter term revival, and those priorities that are essential for longer term transformation for better outcomes on shared prosperity and sustainability in the future.

Since 1979 the Global Competitiveness Report series has aimed to broaden the views of policymakers, business and the public on looking beyond growth alone to enhance economic productivity and broader resilience. In this Special Edition, at this turbulent time for the global economy, we pause comparative country rankings on the Global Competitiveness Index. Instead, we take a fundamental look at how economies should think about revival and transformation as they recover and redesign their economic systems to enhance human development and compatibility with the environment.

The Report provides pathways for leaders to take proactive steps to embed transformative policies, bold investments and new ventures into the recovery. Such an approach requires courageous vision and a nuanced balance between the short and long term. At the World Economic Forum’s New Economy and Society Platform, the home of The Global Competitiveness Report, provides an ecosystem for such actors. Over 200 leaders from government, business and civil society work together to shape a new vision, design new standards and drive scalable, collaborative action on four deeply interconnected areas: 1) economic growth, revival and transformation; 2) work, wages and job creation; 3) education, skills and learning; and 4) diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice. By combining insight, standards and action the Platform serves as an accelerator for leaders championing emerging solutions, pilots and partnerships. We invite like-minded leaders to join us to co-shape the new solutions highlighted in this report, working together with the urgency and ambition that the current context demands of us.

We want to express our gratitude to the core project team involved in the production of this report: Roberto Crotti and Kusum Kali Pal, as well as their colleagues who supported the development of the new concepts for future transformation: Silja Baller, Sophie Brown, Attilio di Battista, Guillaume Hingel, and Vesselina Stefanova Ratcheva. Our deep gratitude goes to our network of Partner Institutes, which help administer the Executive Opinion Survey, whose results provide invaluable data.

We hope this Special Edition of the Global Competitiveness Report will serve as a call to action to engage in the visionary and bold leadership required to build a new economic agenda for growing, productive, sustainable and inclusive economies that provide opportunities for all. This historic moment demands nothing less.

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