Brand South Africa on Monday applauded South Africa’s improvement in the 2017 index of economic freedom, saying this reflected the country’s strong institutions and an independent legal system.
The index, released by the Heritage Foundation, placed South Africa 81st out of 180 countries, with an overall economic freedom score of 62.3, up 0.4 points from 2016 and making it a ‘moderately free’ economy.
The index covers 10 types of economic freedom, grouped into four categories from property rights to entrepreneurship. Each of these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100, where a higher score indicates a better performance.
South Africa’s improvement was a result of better scores in the property rights, government integrity and judicial effectiveness sections.
“South Africa’s property rights are relatively well protected, and contracts are generally secure hence the improvement to 67.6 in 2017,” Brand South Africa CEO Kingsley Makhubela said.
“The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ndicates that South Africa benefits from strong institutions and an independent legal framework, and therefore it is no surprise that our strongest performance indicator in this index is anchored on the category of Rule of Law.”
Brand SA noted that, at 81 out of 180 countries, South Africa had outperformed its BRICS counterparts in the index, with China coming in at 111 with a score of 57.4 for economic freedom while Russia was positioned at 114 with a score of 57.1.
Brazil and India were ranked at 140 and 143 respectively, with economic freedom scores of 52.9 and 52.6.
Makhubela said the upward trend in South Africa’s competitive performance was pleasing, particularly after it briefly slipped into a technical recession in 2017 for the time since 2009.
“Economic freedom is about much more than a business environment where business flourishes, it has a far reaching impact on other aspects such as human development and the power of choice,” he said.
“Consequently, it remains imperative for South Africa to continue safeguarding openness to its market, government size and rule of law.”