Brunei is making major strides in infrastructure development, scoring high among the Southeast Asian economies, along with Indonesia and Singapore, according to the latest global competitiveness report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
According to local media on Tuesday, the sultanate scored 4.4 out of 7 in the 2017-2018 report and ranked 60th globally, up from 78th position in the previous report. The World Economic Forum looked into quality as well as availability of roads, railroads, ports, air transport, electricity, and telephone services of each economy to produce an overall ranking.
Brunei scored high in quality of roads with a score of 4.8 and ranking 33rd globally; electricity supply (score 5.4, ranking 53); and mobile phone subscription (score 120.7, ranking 61). The latest WEF report saw Brunei surging a significant 12 places from last year in the global competitiveness index, ranking 46 out of 137 economies worldwide with a total score of 4.5 out of 7.
Brunei is now in the top five most competitive economies in the ASEAN region behind Singapore (3 globally), Malaysia (23), Thailand (32) and Indonesia (36); followed by Vietnam (55), the Philippines (56), Cambodia (94) and Laos (98).
Despite good ratings given by the World Economic Forum, Brunei remains the worst performing economy in Southeast Asia. It has seen its GDP contracting for four consecutive years, due to the slump in oil and gas prices. In 2017, the economy is, however, coming out of its doldrums. It is due to show a slight GDP growth of 0.4% on the back of a recovery in oil and gas production and private investment. This favorable growth momentum is expected to continue in 2018 and even to accelerate. This should give also some impetus to tourism, particularly the outbound market.
While Brunei has a tiny population of less than 400,000 inhabitants, the Sultanate has the second wealthiest population in ASEAN at US$27,000 GDP per capita. At the height of the gas and oil boom in 2012, GDP per capita reached a record of US$47,600 (source: World Bank).