Released on an annual basis by the Heritage Foundation, the index provides insight into the extent to which governments enable an open and unrestricted economic environment for citizens and businesses to operate in.
The 2018 report showed that South Africa landed a world rank of 77 out of 180 countries in terms of economic freedom, making it fourth in the African region. Its over-all economic freedom score improved by 0.7 from 2017.
The index provided some insight into dimensions of the country’s economic environment as it continued to grapple with historical challenges, and the need to spur on entrepreneurship and innovation, said Brand South Africa general manager for research Dr Petrus de Kock.
“Notable improvements for South Africa in 2018 include the improvement in the area of investment, freedom, and judicial effectiveness,” he said.
“The latter is significant coming in a year where the administration of President (Cyril) Ramaphosa made investment a key focal area of its work.”
South Africa’s improvement in the rankings came as a result of advancements in its property rights, judicial effectiveness, fiscal health, business freedom, labour freedom, and investment freedom scores. It outperformed two European nations, namely Italy and Greece.
“We are pleased with the upward trend of the nation’s competitive performance, particularly since 2018 saw a declining global competiveness of the economy, and South Africa also slipped into a technical recession during the first half of the year,” de Kock said.
He said economic freedom was about much more than an environment where business flourished, and had a far-reaching impact on other aspects such as human development and the power of choice.
“Consequently, it remains imperative for South Africa to continue safeguarding openness to its market, government size, and rule of law,” he said.
Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness.
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