Today’s competitive world makes it the first choice of every nation to top one another. But how to measure it? How to determine where one particular state stands compared to others? Among the various scales of measurement, one of the most popular and widespread is the Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index (GSCI) where Bangladesh ranked 115 out of 180 countries in its 2020 report. It’s a 17 step progress since 2019. The country scored 43.3 out of 100 points. This is quite a progress since the 2019 report puts the score at 39.1 points. Sounds good? Let’s have a detailed look.
What is the Global Sustainable Competitive Index (GSCI)
Global Sustainable Competitive Index (GSCI) is published by the Korean and Swiss think tank, Solubility. Solubility has been publishing GSCI since 2012. It’s a scale to measure national economies. Now economic performances can be measured on a variety of scales. For instance, the much widely used GDP or GNI index. However, GSCI is different regarding its main focus on sustainability. To cut the cheese, GSCI measures the ability of economies to sustain or increase wealth. At the same time, it takes notice of the future ability to uphold this progress.
A total of 127 quantitative indicators are used to gather data regarding GSCI. For sources, databases of the World Bank, the IMF, or various United Nations (UN) agencies are used. However, raw data are calculated on a comparative scale. Given there are no best performance indicators, GSCI accurately shows the position of any given nation concerning others. Data are grouped into five indexes. The following section will describe the indexes along with Bangladesh’s position according to them.
Bangladesh and GSCI 2020
Natural Capital: This sub-index includes the size of the territory, population, renewable and non-renewable resources, geography, climate and biodiversity, human impact on these sectors, sustainable practices, pollution and degradation of soil, water, air; almost everything that may be essential to sustain any country’s natural ability to generate wealth. Bangladesh is on a positive track regarding natural capital. Last year the score was 30.8 but in 2020? it’s 40.14 points. The average global score is 46.7 points.
Management of the resources: A nation must be efficient in using its resources to ensure long-term sustainability. So efficiency in resource utilization to generate food, water, energy, and minerals, per cost production, carbon emissions, or intensity of resource management, for example, wastage management is included in this sub-index. A particular problem about this index is the measurement of raw material usage since, except steel, data about others are difficult to come by. In the resource management index, Bangladesh scored 60.82 points. It’s a huge leap from the previous year’s score of 48.7 points. The average global score is only 49.4 points. This is quite an impressive mark for Bangladesh.
Social Capital: To run an economy smoothly, any state must need a coherent society. Nation-states are diverse entities regarding population, race, religion, and geography. These diversities often generate clashes of interest, oppression, and discrimination. The lower the social tension is, the better the income levels. Besides, relations among authorities and the general populace, groups and individuals, health performance, statistics regarding birth, death, income levels, freedom of press and freedom of speech, human rights and perceived level of happiness, crime, and equal opportunities for every gender are also taken into consideration. The social capital score for Bangladesh is 41.47 points. It’s a slight drop from 2019’s score of 42.1. The global average is 44.3 points.
Intellectual Capital: Any economy performs better if there is a knowledge generation drive behind it. The East Asian Economic miracles, for example, were largely a result of the increasing use of modern technologies. South Korea alone can be a fine example of how a country without natural resources can become a powerhouse by knowledge utilization. This sub-index measures data on education, infrastructure, investment, innovation, research and development, employment levels, and the balance between agriculture, service, and manufacturing industries.
There has been an upward trend for Bangladesh regarding intellectual capital. The score is 19.87 points this year. 2019 report puts a score on intellectual capital at 18.5 points. 2020s global average is, however, 41.2 points. This should be one grave concern. Bangladesh scored lowest in terms of intellectual capital. Every other country in South Asia, even Afghanistan, has beaten Bangladesh in this pillar.
Governance: Nations with immense natural resources can go amuck without proper governance. Many potential or successful economies have failed due to this reason. A state’s performance is guided through a framework invented by the authorities. Businesses, social stability or consensus, cohesion, etc depends on this framework. Legislation, corruption, exposure to financial risks, etc come in this index.
Governance score has also experienced a slight drop. Last year, the score in governance was 55.5 points. 2020 index shows a minus of 1.30, meaning governance efficiency relating to sustainability stands at 54.20 points this year. However, the world average in this sub-index is 50.2 points.
Where others stand
As usual, Scandinavian nations have topped the list. A Swedish lead (62.1) is followed by Iceland, Denmark, and Finland. All scored more than 60 points. 19 out of the top 20 nations in the GSCI 2020 list are European. New Zealand, ranking 11th, is the only outsider. Heavyweight economies like Germany and the U.K. stand at 15 and 17 respectively. Nordic countries particularly lead in social capital, thanks to their coherent society.
Large guns like the U.S.A. rank 32 whereas China stands at 39, Russia 48, Brazil 54, and India 127. East Asian nations like South Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore lead in intellectual capital. Some countries like Belize or Laos also scored excellent in terms of natural capital. It’s not unlikely that unsustainable usage of natural resources affected middle eastern oil states’ ranking.
You might be interested in low performers. Year-long warfare and civil strife put Iraq at the lowest place with a score of 33.9 points. Yemen is in 179 positions with 34.9 points. Understandably for the same causes.
So overall, things may seem going well for Bangladesh according to the 2020 GSCI. The country is well ahead compared to India (127). However, Bangladesh’s position in South Asia stands at 5th. Nepal (53), Bhutan (55), Maldives (65th), and Sri Lanka (86th) performed way better. Pakistan ranks 174th while Afghanistan, the lowest performer of South Asia, stands at 178th.