World Economy

This wealthy European nation has the most potential for future growth, researchers say

The shores of Lake Geneva
Olaf Protze | LightRocket | Getty Images

Switzerland has more potential for economic growth than any other country in the world, according to new research.

In its fifth annual ranking of global economic growth potential released on Monday, management consultancy KPMG analyzed two decades' worth of data, measuring how 180 countries performed across 26 metrics.

The metrics fell into one of five categories: macroeconomic stability, openness, quality of infrastructure, quality of institutions, and human development.

Switzerland, despite already being a well-developed and wealthy nation, was awarded the highest score in the ranking, meaning it was most likely to see strong productivity levels (high levels of economic output) which would boost overall growth. The Netherlands and Singapore followed close behind.

While Swiss infrastructure, institutions and openness scored highly in KPMG's ranking, the report said that education — a metric that fell under the human development category — was an area that needed attention.

"Switzerland scores below peers such as Germany, Netherlands, Finland and Denmark," Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG in the U.K., told CNBC via email. "It will take up to 10 years for improvements in education to feed into the labor market, and it would therefore be good to also focus on improving workers' skills through on-the-job training."

Switzerland was recently named the best place in the world to live and work by HSBC, with 80% of people who had relocated to the country saying they were happy with its economic climate. According to the OECD, the small European nation had one of the world's strongest economies in 2018.

10 countries with the strongest growth outlook

  1. Switzerland
  2. Netherlands
  3. Singapore
  4. Denmark
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Finland
  7. Norway
  8. Sweden
  9. New Zealand
  10. Canada

Meanwhile, increasingly restricted international trade could see the U.S. fall behind other nations when it comes to economic growth.

The U.S. was ranked 20th, falling behind other developed nations due to poor performances on macroeconomic stability and openness, where its respective scores were just 2.67 and 0.67 out of 10.

Despite scoring relatively well in human development, it was noted that life expectancy in the United States is declining amid the country's opioid crisis.

The U.K., which came in 13th, also fell behind on macroeconomic stability and openness amid the country's prolonged Brexit uncertainty.

Selfin said in the report that geopolitical tensions were limiting some nations' growth potential.

"We are living in a climate of volatility and often outright hostility, where political tensions make rational, cool-headed decision making increasingly difficult," she said.

"Those countries that have been able to lay the foundations for sustainable growth represent shining beacons that light up the path ahead. We must follow these examples wherever they are to be found – and the leaders are truly global."

She added that there was a sense in the business community that the U.K. was lacking a long-term economic vision, which was hindering investment.