Competitiveness is another key aspect of global integration. The 2013-14 Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows the GCC countries in the top league, with the rest of the MENA region lagging behind. This mirrors the recent economic growth performance of the MENA region. The WEF report identified areas for enhancing competitiveness in MENA: institutional frameworks and labor markets in North Africa as well as infrastructure, innovation and competitiveness. Structural reforms aimed at improving these dimensions of competitiveness could, therefore, lead to higher sustainable growth. Greater efforts to attract investment into infrastructure, including the GCC countries, would likely yield high growth dividends in the entire region, according to QNB Group. In the GCC, investment in major infrastructure programs will continue to drive trade openness through higher imports. Further structural reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment into infrastructure, education and innovation would yield long-term gains in enhancing both trade openness and competitiveness. The GCC is already investing heavily in these areas, but further liberalization and investment incentives could bring the region in line with cutting-edge global standards. In the short term, the GCC will continue to drive MENA growth, mainly through heavy spending on infrastructure. Over the next year spending on large-scale projects is expected to drive growth across the GCC. Project spending in 2014 is estimated to be USD30bn in Qatar and USD25bn in Kuwait. Meanwhile, Dubai’s successful bid for the World Expo 2020 and a number of new real estate developments will boost project spending in the UAE. The Saudi government alone is spending over USD50bn on infrastructure projects through its budget, which excludes significant project spending by the private sector and state-owned companies. Growth in MENA, outside the GCC, will be dependent on overcoming political uncertainties, liberalizing trade and improving competitiveness, according to QNB Group.