The World Economic Forum issued its 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report, which says that of 142 countries participating in the reporting process, Switzerland remains number one again this year. The United States slipped from number four in 2010-2011 to number five for the report issued last week.

The explanation of the rankings criteria are quite sophisticated and complicated, but in general the industralized nations rank higher than developing nations. The top 10 ranking for the 2011-2012 is dominated by Northern and Western Europe nations. The full top 10 in order are Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, United States, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, United Kingdom.

Two countries that are trying to gain foreign investment, and specifically from the U.S., which I have toured in recent years, Honduras and Thailand, were ranked 86 and 39 respectively. Both countries have large agricultural business segments, but Thailand is probably more diversified than Honduras in its business activities, but Honduras is proud of its ranking compared to other Central America countries of similar economies.

“The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 is the world's most comprehensive and respected assessment of countries' competitiveness, produced in collaboration with leading academics and a global network of research institutes. The report provides users with a comprehensive assessment of their strengths and weaknesses related to national competitiveness using the Global Competitiveness Index as the main methodology carried out by the World Economic Forum in 142 economies,” as described in the report.

To provide more explanation of Honduras compared to Central America rankings, the country’s investment promotional organization issued a lengthy statement noting the country’s ranking improvement jumped five places.

“In the previous year, the performance of its institutions, the macroeconomic environment, and quality of education affected the competitiveness of Honduras,” the FIDA Investment and Exports organization noted. “This year, ‘the report demonstrates the recovery of confidence and coverage of education.’”

“The highest (biggest) decreases in the region were experienced in some Central American countries—for example Costa Rica dropped five points from 56 to 61; from 78 to 84 Guatemala; El Salvador from 82 to 91; Nicaragua moved from 112 to 114 and Belize, which is participating for the first time in this report, was ranked 123,” FIDA further noted.

Mexico had a 56 ranking, which was up from 66 last year. Canada went down from 12 to number 10 for this year. Ranking of other countries involved in high volume import and export of agricultural production are Australia that slipped from 16 to 20 this year and China that held relatively steady at 26 this year compared to 27 last year.