Innovation: The Next Challenge

Competitiveness requires more than sound macro policies and a good business environment.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon, here at the APEC summit in Japan on November 14, can celebrate the Doing Business ranking, but needs to do more on innovation, the author argues. (Photo: Mexican President's Office)

With the recent release of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2011 report, Latin America and the Caribbean have much to cheer about with more advances than declines in key categories of conducting business. Mexico and Peru scored highest—first and second place, respectively. For Mexico, the achievement was a much needed shot in the arm, in light of the fact that most recent shots have been exchanges between drug cartels and the cartels and police, with many civilians being caught in the crossfire. In the case of Peru, its notable accomplishment is testimony to the government’s hard-nosed recognition that high commodity prices (minerals, in this case) may well boost GDP to close to double-digits, but this feat is irrelevant to the reality of doing business in that country on a day-to-day basis.

The Doing Business reports are a more useful barometer for business people and a practical guide for policymakers than macroeconomic assessments and projections of fiscal and monetary policy, interest rates, trade balances, and the like. For Doing Business focuses on the electrical circuitry and plumbing of actually doing business.

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Read: “Innovation: The Next Challenge,“ an article by Jerry Haar for the

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