Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Economic Freedom of the World Report 2011

The Economic Freedom of the World Report 2011 released on 19th September 2011 says Nepal's rank slid to 129 out of 141 countries this year. With a score of 5.50 (out of 10), Nepal continued to be one of the least free countries in the world in case of economic freedom.
Nepal continued to fare dismally in economic freedom, an indicator which highlights people's freedom to choose and undertake business activities, due to weak enforcement of industrial and consumer laws, low commitment of country's interim constitution and ongoing political discourse on security of property rights.
The report notes that not just Nepal, but all the countries across the globe performed badly during the year, particularly as enforcement of stringent financial and other sector regulations in the wake of global financial crisis ate up freedom. 
This year, the average global economic freedom score fell to 6.64, the lowest in nearly three decades, from 6.67 in 2008, reads a statement.
Among all 141 countries covered by the report, Hong Kong retained the highest rating for economic freedom, scoring 9.01 out of 10. Other top economically free countries include Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Chile, United Kingdom, Mauritius and the United States. Similarly, Hong Kong scores 9.01 out of 10, followed by Singapore (8.68), New Zealand (8.20), Switzerland (8.03), Australia (7.98), Canada (7.81), Chile (7.77), the United Kingdom (7.71), Mauritius (7.67), and the United States (7.60).
This year Zimbabwe maintains the lowest level of economic freedom among the 141 jurisdictions measured. Myanmar, Venezuela, Angola, and Democratic Republic of Congo round out the bottom five nations.
The Economic Freedom of the World Report uses 42 different measures and rank economic freedom under five broader indicators like size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulation of credit, labor and business.
Sadly, Nepal's scores on all those indicators fell down this year, with score remaining the least on indicator related to legal structures and security of property rights. 
The report shows that individuals living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy higher level of prosperity, greater individual freedoms and longer life spans. 

Measuring the Information Society 2011

Nepal has moved three places up from the ranking of 137 in 2008 to 134 in 2010 among 152 countries in the Information and Communication Development Index (IDI) that is published on 19th September 2011 by International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Publishing its report ‘Measuring the Information Society 2011’, the union has said that information and communication technology uptake continues to accelerate worldwide, spurred by a steady fall in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services.
A key feature of the report is the ICT Development Index (IDI), which ranks 152 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2008 and 2010 scores. ICT Development Index captures progress made in regard to ICT infrastructure, use and skills. 
Nepal received the actual IDI value of 1.56 in 2010, up to from 1.28 in 2008, according to the report. 
However, Nepal fell in the lower raking compared to the countries from Asia Pacific countries. Nepal is ranked at the 25th position among the 27 Asia Pacific countries. 
In South Asia, Maldives tops the rank with 67th position followed by Sri Lanka (105th), India (116th), Bhutan (119th), Pakistan (123rd), Nepal (134th) and Bangladesh (137th), according to the report.
Nepal is in the low economics level according to ICT Development Index levels and Income, the union in report said, adding that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has divided four major levels – high (IDI values above 6.16), upper (IDI values between 4.09 and 6.4), medium (IDI values between 2.59 and 4.05) and low (IDI values below 2.55).
All the South Asian countries have been categorized as a low economics level. Countries that are categorized under low IDI levels and income need to give attention on policy-makers and ICT investors to promote ICT sector, according to the report.
“Falling prices are fuelling growth in high-speed Internet services, especially in developing countries,” it said.
South Korea has the world’s most developed economy in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), though, South Korea is the fourth largest economy in Asia.
Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland were also among the top five in the ICT Development Index (IDI). Global mobile broadband subscriptions reached 872 million by the end of last year, the report said, adding that three hundred million of those are in developing countries.
Even so, the report warned that the people in many low-income countries were still paying too much for high-speed Internet connections. “Also, there are differences in broadband speed and quality from country to country,” it said.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nepal ranks 17th on women representation in Parliament

Nepal ranks 17th on women representation in Parliament as per the list of World and Regional Averages of Women in Parliament, available at the Regional Seminar on Asian Parliaments (2011 Sep 15-17, New Delhi). The seminar is organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Indian Parliament.
While Rwanda, a small East African nation, tops the list of nations across the world for having the maximum representation of women in Parliament. Strife-torn Afghanistan and Iraq are ranked at 32nd and 38th rank, having 27.3 % and 25.5 % women representation in their lower houses.
India ranks a poor 100th, has only 10.8 % representation of women in the Lok Sabha with 59 out of 545 members as women. In the Rajya Sabha, India has only nine % women with only 21 women out of a total of 233 members.
India's ranking on this front falls even below its neighbours like Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and troubled Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Global Competitive Report 2011-12

Nepal improved its score to 3.47 to climb up to 125th position — among 142 economies — from last year’s score of 3.36 and 130th position among 139 economies according to the Global Competitive Report 2011-12.
The report released on 7th September 2011 by World Economic Forum globally, the country has improved in macroeconomic environment and health, though its needs to have a lots of improvements in institutions and infrastructures — the two key pillars of the index among the 12 pillars based upon which the score is calculated.
However, Nepal still falls under factor driven country category that needs to focus on first four pillars — institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment and health and primary education.
Under the first pillar — institutions — government’s attitude towards market also plays key role and under second pillar — infrastructure — market integration to reduce cost to the market is key, which has pulled Nepal's overall score.
There are 37 economies like Nepal that fall under the factor driven category that has their per capita income below $2,000. The economies that have between $3,000 and $8,999 per capita income fall under efficiency driven category which has 28 countries and the economies that have over $17,000 per capita income fall under the innovative driven category that has 35 countries.
Nepal’s GDP stands at $15.8 billion with $562 per capita income, according to the report.
The report has identified government instability, inefficient government bureaucracy, policy instability, corruption and inadequate supply of infrastructure as five most problematic factors for doing business, which was similar to last years report.
The Global Competitiveness Report’s competitiveness ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), developed for the World Economic Forum by Sala-i-Martin and introduced in 2004.
The GCI comprises 12 pillars — institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation — of competitiveness that together provide a comprehensive picture of a country’s competitiveness landscape.
The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey — a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum with its network of Partner Institutes. In Nepal, (Centre for Economic Development and Administration (CEDA) is the partner that has been releasing the report since 2006.
This year, over 14,000 business leaders were polled in a record 142 economies. In Nepal some 103 small (with less than 20 employees), medium (between 20 and 50 employees) and large (with over 50 employees) industries were polled for the survey that is designed to capture a broad range of factors affecting an economy’s business climate.
As usual Switzerland still leads the world in competitiveness because of innovation and labor market efficiency, whereas Singapore came second and Sweden third.
The United States ranked fifth, falling for the third year in a row. 
The United States has good universities, is strong in research and development and has a big economy and a flexible workforce, the report said, adding that the business community, however, continues to be critical toward public and private institutions.

The South Asian ranking
• Sri Lanka — 52
• India — 56
• Bangladesh — 108
• Pakistan — 118
• Nepal — 125