THE CHARTIST: Slovenia, Czech top CEE countries in Prosperity Index

By bne IntelliNews February 3, 2011

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Slovenia and the Czech Republic, two countries that have at various times been bestowed with the moniker "The Switzerland of emerging Europe," are the top two Central and Eastern European countries in the 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index, which ranks 110 countries, comprising more than 90% of the world's population, according to their overall abilities to foster the drivers of prosperity.

The Legatum Institute's index evaluates each nation according to 89 variables sorted into eight subsections: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital. Unsurprisingly, the top three places in the 2010 Prosperity Index ranking are occupied by Nordic countries - Norway, Denmark and Finland - followed by a number of other countries of Western Europe. The CEE countries are then scattered in the middle to lower tiers of the ranking, with the tendency that the further east you travel, the lower the ranking.

Poland, Hungary, Estonia follow close behind the Czech Republic, while bringing up the rear are Ukraine, Macedonia and Moldova.

Among the Bric nations, Russia scores lower than its per-capita income might suggest, at 63rd, below the likes of Vietnam, Mongolia and China in 58th. Brazil was the highest of the Brics at 45th place and India the lowest at 88th.

The main difference between west and east is that Western Europe benefits from good governance, while CEE continues to struggle with poor governance that hinders prosperity in the sub-region, the Legatum Institute notes. CEE countries have a lot of similarities in terms of what makes them prosperous and the challenges they face. "Generally, these countries have weaker governance and social capital, but there are signs of hope: countries with a lower overall score perform relatively well on health, education, and safety, suggesting that these three areas might represent the most important assets for the transitional nations of CEE," the Legatum Institute says.

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