The Global Competitiveness Report series has evolved over the last three decades into the world’s most respected assessment of national competitiveness. This year’s Report comes out amid multiple challenges to the global economy and a continuing shift in the balance of economic activity away from advanced economies and toward emerging markets. Policymakers are struggling to find ways to manage the present economic challenges while preparing their economies to perform well in an increasingly complex global landscape.

The present context makes it more important than ever for countries to put into place the fundamentals underpinning growth and development. The Global Competitiveness Report 2011–2012 contributes to this process by providing a detailed analysis of the productive potential of nations worldwide. The Report offers policymakers, business executives, and academics, as well as the public at large, valuable insights into the policies, institutions, and factors that enable robust economic development and long-term prosperity.

Produced in collaboration with leading academics and a global network of Partner Institutes, The Global Competitiveness Report 2011–2012 offers users a unique dataset on a broad array of competitiveness indicators for a record number of 142 economies. The data used in the Report are obtained from leading international sources as well as from the World Economic Forum’s annual Executive Opinion Survey, a distinctive source that captures the perceptions of several thousand business leaders on topics related to national competitiveness.

The Report presents the rankings of the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), developed by Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin and introduced in 2005. The GCI is based on 12 pillars of competitiveness, providing a comprehensive picture of the competitiveness landscape in countries around the world at different stages of economic development. The Report also contains detailed profiles highlighting competitive strengths and weaknesses for each of the 142 economies featured, as well as an extensive section of data tables displaying relative rankings for more than 100 variables.

The Report also features discussions on selected regions and topics. These include an analysis of the effects of debt crises on competitiveness, a review of the innovation challenge for Latin America, and competitiveness trends and prospects for sub-Saharan Africa. An important addition to this year’s Report is a chapter describing the World Economic Forum’s preliminary work aimed at integrating the concept of economic, social, and environmental sustainability more fully into its competitiveness research.