The Dominican Republic’s economic sectors include agriculture, industry, energy, tourism, transportation and logistics, education, health and public administration, which were analyzed in the Sectoral Competitiveness Bulletin of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD).
According to the World Economic Forum, the term competitiveness refers to the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. A competitive economy is productive; productivity leads to growth, which allows for higher income levels and greater well-being.
For years, the country has been talking about improving competitiveness in the productive sectors, but how much progress has been made in this regard?
The report of the Directorate of Sectoral Economic Analysis of the MEPyD highlights that the agricultural production index of the Dominican Republic grew by 24.2% in the period 2014-2019, well above the growth recorded at the regional level of 5.5%.
The production of the main agricultural products by quintals during 2020 were sugar cane, musaceae, milkweed, avocados and rice.
The study adds that products such as sweet potato, dried coconut, natural honey, coffee without roasting or decaffeination, yautía, fresh flowers, melons, among others, are classified as withdrawn stars since the country has lost market share and at the same time the demand for the product has been reduced.
The research points out that in the Competitive Industrial Performance Index (CIP), measured by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Dominican Republic is not considered. The Economy bulletin makes an unofficial estimate, which places the country in 14th position out of 27 countries at the regional level.
It also indicates that the Dominican Republic has a global comparative advantage, that is, it specializes in molasses (28.5), textile remnants (23.8), bandages (19.0), medical instruments (18.5), ferroalloys (17.7) and low voltage protection equipment (15.2).
In terms of energy self-sufficiency, the ratio of energy production with own resources to total energy consumption is only 8.8%. In contrast, the LAC region enjoys energy self-sufficiency (113.1%); energy production exceeds the required supply, with Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, countries with oil deposits, standing out, according to the report.
ATTA, the international organization for the adventure tourism industry, considered in 2020 that adventure tourism is a more attractive offer worldwide and that its development is a tool for stakeholders to measure their adventure competitiveness against competing destinations.
In that sense, the country has the best position in the adventure pillar, ranked 2 out of 33 countries at the regional level. In contrast, in terms of preparedness (image and infrastructure) it ranks 28th.
Transportation and logistics
For the 2020 edition of the maritime connectivity index, the Dominican Republic ranked 46th in the world with a score of 37.6. The country is above the world average (27.1), as well as the Latin American average (19.3).
For the same year, the freedom of trade index, which measures the absence of tariff and non-tariff barriers affecting imports and exports of goods and services, reached 69.5 points, placing the country 12th out of 30 in the region.
The MEPyD cites in its report that for the World Bank, education is one of the factors that most influences the advancement and progress of individuals and societies. In addition to providing knowledge and skills, education enriches culture, spirit and values.
The Dominican Republic faces serious educational challenges, which result in learning poverty. It is estimated that 62.3% of the 10-year-old population could not read and understand a simple text, according to the latest available data. Despite this result, the country has made progress, reducing the percentage of children below the minimum level of reading proficiency (18.5 percentage points compared to 2013). Learning poverty in the Dominican Republic is close to the LAC average (62.1%).
There are four pillars of health security in which the country fares worse than the average of LAC nations, such as prevention, health systems, detection and standards, but it fares better in risks and responses.
The country shows similar coverage to the regional average in terms of the number of hospital beds and physicians per 1,000 population. The country shows advantages in prenatal care. In contrast, it has a disadvantage in the number of nurses and psychiatrists, which is below the regional average.