S'pore No. 1 economy in prosperity index
SINGAPORE is the most successful economy in the world, according to an index released yesterday by the London-based think tank, the Legatum Institute.
Its Prosperity Index ranked Singapore's economy as the best of 142 countries and territories, with Switzerland, China, Norway and Germany taking the next four spots.
Singapore dislodged Switzerland to take the top spot in the economy subindex this year, climbing one spot from last year.
Said Nathan Gamester of the Legatum Institute: "Singapore is now the No. 1 economy in the world according to our index. This is largely due to its productivity rate and the strength of its export market.
"Overall, Singapore is a very prosperous country, with good opportunities for entrepreneurs and a good-quality health and education system. However, there is still room for improvement as Singapore ranks 38th globally in the Personal Freedom category."
The country ranked in the top 20 in all but two subindices - personal freedom (38th) and social capital (25th).
The annual index ranks countries across eight categories: the economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital.
Personal freedom relates to the effects of freedom of choice, expression, movement and belief, on a country's per capita gross domestic product and the subjective wellbeing of its citizens. It also assesses how levels of tolerance of ethnic minorities and immigrants impact countries' economic growth and citizens' life satisfaction.
The social capital category measures social cohesion and engagement, as well as community and family networks.
Singapore stood at 12th place for entrepreneurship and opportunity (Sweden took top spot), as well as safety and security (Hong Kong was No. 1 for this).
Norway topped the overall index, ranking among the top 10 for all categories but not coming out tops in any one of the eight categories.
Singapore ranked 17th overall, which is the best in Asia. Japan was next at 19th and Hong Kong at 20th.
The index also found that the country has the second highest capital in the world at US$240,750 (S$337,830) per worker while 47 per cent of its manufactured exports are classified as "high tech", the third highest in the world.
Among Asean nations, Malaysia came in next highest after Singapore, ranking 44th overall followed by Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
South-east Asia's biggest economy, Indonesia, climbed up 21 places in the last seven years - the most by any country in the world, to rank 69th overall.
Canada was the freest country in the world - it was among the top five, including Norway, New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland to be most tolerant towards immigrants.
Britain was the world leader in enterprise.
Legatum first published the index in 2007.
THE BUSINESS TIMES, THE STRAITS TIMES