Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SA leads Africa in WEF Financial Development Index

Afrol News, 9 September

World Economic Forum today launched the world's first Financial Development Index, a rigorous, comprehensive analysis of financial systems and capital markets in 52 countries that analyses key drivers of financial system development and economic growth in developing and developed countries.

United States narrowly edged United Kingdom to take top position in the Financial Development Index. The US and United Kingdom have close rankings, outstripping remaining countries in the top 10 - Germany, Japan, Canada, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong SAR, Netherlands and Singapore.

Highest ranking African nation is South Africa at 25. Other African countries that have made the list are Egypt (37) and Nigeria (50).

The Financial Development Report 2008, which promotes the full potential of financial systems to drive economic growth in developing countries, provides a ranking of 52 of the world's leading financial systems through which countries can benchmark their performance and evaluate priorities for reform.

The rankings are based on over 120 variables spanning institutional and business environments, financial stability, and size and depth of capital markets, among other factors, in assessing the complex financial systems of the 52 countries studied.

An important and unique measure captured by the Index includes the degree to which businesses feel they can easily access capital.

Report draws on data taken from a variety of publicly available sources as well as the World Economic Forum's Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by Forum with its network of partner institutes.

Some countries, such as Mexico and Peru, perform better with respect to foundational requirements of sound regulation and the low cost of doing business; yet they have not been able to fully transform these strengths into robust financial intermediaries and markets, said forum's report.

"China and Egypt do not seem to demonstrate an ease of access to capital that is commensurate with the overall depth of financial assets in their countries. By contrast, the United Arab Emirates seems to provide strong access to capital for its businesses despite a relatively lower ranking with respect to its depth of financial assets," concluded statement by World Economic Forum.