A country or region's economic performance is largely a reflection of how competitive it is with other nations on the world stage. And in Latin America, many countries that comprise it are steadily ascending the ladder of financial success, based on the results of a recent report.
The World Economic Forum recently conducted an analysis of 144 economies throughout the globe, ranking each based on its economic competitiveness, using measurements such as innovation, talent development and the strength of institutions. On its Global Competitive Index, the United States improved its position for the second year in a row, climbing to the third best country overall, just behind Switzerland and Singapore, respectively. Finland and Germany rounded out the top five countries.
However, a large number of the Latin American countries assessed had a strong showing. The best of them all was Chile, finishing with a global GCI ranking of 33. Chile was followed by Panama at 48, Costa Rica at 51, Brazil at 57 and Mexico at 61. The remaining top 10 Latin American countries were Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, Uruguay and El Salvador, most of which finished in the top 50 percent of the analysis' competitive rankings.
The report stressed that Latin America has seen its fair share of positive economic momentum over the past several years. But if it wants to take advantage of these strides, governments must "implement structural reforms to improve the functioning of its markets and invest in infrastructure, skills development and innovation."
Investment strong in Latin America but Regulations Can't be Forgotten
Investors are taking renewed interest in Latin America. Investments in the region totaled $2.6 billion through the first six months of 2014, down only slightly from $2.9 billion over the same period last year, based on data from American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.
"This is a dynamic period for private equity fundraising, the association's executive director said in a press release. "We expect year-end 2014 totals to likely reach $8 billion."
The business sector in Latin America isn't what it used to be. Not only are many companies doing better from an economic standpoint, but there are systems now in place that never used to be, such as increased standardization and a more rigorous regulatory environment.
"Even with the profit potential, multinationals still need to ensure they understand the complexity, especially the regulatory requirements," said Scott Lewin, President & CEO, Invoiceware International. "The constantly changing e-invoicing and tax delcaration climate is such that it demands the need for flexible Information Technology investments. And one trend we see on the rise - companies are turning to the cloud to lower the cost and risk of maintaining compliance with mandates, such as e-invoicing."