Thinking Aloud: Poised For the Future, Montenegro

Sept. 21,  2014 by Darius 

[Three weeks ago, I introduced my Poised for the Future Index, a metric which combines improvements in a country’s levels of educational attainment, its corruption levels, and its political stability to identify countries that seem positioned for strong economic growth in the future.  See for more information.]

Montenegro, one of the countries that does quite well on the Poised for the Future Index, does not get a lot of press.

Montenegro only became independent in 2006, being previously part of Serbia (and before that Yugoslavia).  It is the southernmost of the former Yugoslavian republics and achieved independence peacefully through a referendum (similar to the recent Scottish referendum).

According to UN statistics, its education system has become substantially better since independence, gaining 17% on the UN Education Index, despite starting from a higher base value than the other countries we’ve explored so far.

According to Transparency International, Montenegro is the 67th least-corrupt country in the world.  Though corruption remains problematic, the Montenegrin government has taken steps to strengthen and enforce anti-corruption laws.  The Montenegrin economy grew at very high rates before the 2008 recession.  Economic growth is built around tourism, and the government continues to invest in tourist infrastructure.

Montenegro has a respectable score on the Fragile States Index, and Freedom House rates Montenegro as “free.”  Freedom of the press is generally respected, and Montenegro is a functioning democracy.

Perhaps the biggest boon to Montenegro’s future, both political and economic, is the fact that it is a candidate country for the European Union.  Since 2008, it has been moving towards accession and, though significant obstacles remain, is likely to become a member of the EU in future years.

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