The Forbes Insights and OFX Global Exchange Index (GEI) is a list of the top 10 destinations that readers might consider as they evaluate their business and personal investment decisions. The universe for the index comprises those countries and territories with the largest stock of inward foreign direct investment, as measured by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which started issuing annual reports compiling data on foreign direct investment in 1991.
To rank the countries and develop the GEI, we chose the following nine criteria that are all important to investors, entrepreneurs and global travelers:
Competitiveness of the economy (measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index): This is a well-regarded and long-established ranking of countries by their level of competitiveness, as measured by a wide range of statistics, from the macroeconomic environment and microeconomic competitiveness to measurements of health and education.
Financial market development (compiled by the World Economic Forum): This measures the availability and efficiency of financial services and the soundness of financial institutions. Ease of doing business, from the World Bank’s Doing Business report, which measures business regulations in 190 economies.
Ease of doing business (from the World Bank’s Doing Business report): Measures business regulations in 190 economies.
Property laws (IPRI): This evaluates the sanctity of contracts in a given country and the principle of non-discriminatory property laws, whether for a domestic or foreign investor.
Level of corruption (Transparency International): This ranking is based on investors’ perceptions of the level of graft in a country; the higher the ranking, the lower the level of perceived corruption.
Cost of living by capital city (Mercer): The lower the cost of living, the higher the ranking. Living costs tend to fluctuate partly due to changes in exchange rates.
Extent of Internet usage (WEF sub-index): This measures things like the average Internet bandwidth per user and the proportion of the population that are mobile telephone subscribers.
Quality of physical infrastructure (WEF subindex): A ranking of the roads, airports, railways, ports and so on in a given country.
Expat Explorer survey (HSBC Expat Explorer): An annual survey, now in its 11th year, that asks expats a series of questions about economics, experience and family. The 2017 study surveyed 27,587 expats in 159 countries.