Ireland places 4th in Forbes’ Best Countries for Business list

5 Jan 2017

IFSC, Dublin. Image: UTBP/Shutterstock

Ireland appears to be making quite a name for itself abroad, having been placed fourth in Forbes’ annual Best Countries for Business, with Sweden taking first place.

The Best Countries for Business list is about as comprehensive as they come, with 139 countries across the globe analysed to see what they can bring to the table for established and fledgling businesses.

With the criteria looking at a country’s GDP growth, its GDP per capita, trade balance and population, Ireland’s stats show that significant recovery has been made following the financial crash of 2008.

Most notable – aside from it being ranked fourth in the world – is how Ireland’s GDP growth of 26.3pc places it first in the world by a considerable margin, with countries like Ethiopia (10.2pc), Côte d’Ivoire (8.5pc) and both Laos and India (7.6pc) coming close.

However, when news of this significant growth was announced back in the summer of last year, critics warned that it might be hiding Ireland’s true economic state.

When it comes to Ireland’s standings in terms of GDP per capita, it places ninth at $51,300. Luxembourg nearly doubles this figure, as its residents earn on average $101,400, followed by Switzerland ($80,200) and Qatar ($74,700).

Again, Ireland ranks highly when it comes to our overall trade balance, coming in third place with 12.2pc, just behind Taiwan at 14.5pc, but further behind Singapore at 19.8pc.

Brexit effect yet to be felt

UK follows Ireland in the overall list but this masks the fact that, as Forbes states, the data is based prior to the Brexit decision made in June of last year, and it will be years before its full effects can be registered.

Worryingly for Japan, despite being one of the largest economics at $4.1trn, it experienced one of the biggest drops in the 2016 list. It fell 13 places to 36, due to restrictions to monetary freedoms under the current government.

The country shown to perform worst overall globally is the landlocked African state of Chad, the second time in as many years to have done so.

With a GDP per capita of just $800 and a trade balance decline of nearly 10pc, the country of 11.9m people is believed to be far behind in terms of technological readiness. It was also hurt by a considerable drop in energy prices that contribute to 50pc of its exports.

IFSC, Dublin. Image: UTBP/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic