Norway #10 on Forbes “Best Countries for Business 2009”
The economic downturn that’s swept the globe has crushed financial markets, exploded unemployment and shaken confidence in the banking system. The disaster isn’t shared equally, though, writes Forbes. Some countries are in a much better position than others to rebound from the current malaise by attracting entrepreneurs, investors and workers. Forbes ranks Danmark number 1, the U.S. number 2, while Norway rank number 10 on the list.
About Norway Forbes writes: The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention.
The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through large-scale state enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources – petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals – and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for nearly half of exports and over 30% of state revenue.
Norway is the world’s third-largest gas exporter; its position as an oil exporter has slipped to seventh-largest as production has begun to decline. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget.
In anticiipation of eventual declines in oil and gas prodution, Norway saves almost all state revenue from the petroleum sector in a sovereign wealth fund. After lackluster growth of less than 1.5% in 2002-03, GDP growth picked up to 2.5-6.2% in 2004-07, partly due to higher oil prices. Growth fell to 2.3% in 2008 as a result of the slowing world economy and the drop in oil prices.