Switzerland’s ascension to sixth place – after a two-year plateau at number seven – reflects the country’s substantial gains in the Digital sub-index. Climbing an impressive 17 spots due to the continued, seamless integration of digital into the sectors of governance, fintech, commerce and even the country’s fabled watch industry. Consistently posting some of the strongest performances in the Enterprise and Government and sub-indices – this year, topping the latter – Switzerland remains, somewhat unsurprisingly, one of the most trusted nations globally. Switzerland’s longstanding, impenetrable policy of neutrality has seen the country become a byword for stability and counts the World Economic Forum and Red Cross as among the hundreds of international organisations that call Switzerland home.
Topping this year’s Government sub-index, efficiency continues to remain central to Switzerland’s soft power strength. At home, balancing four national languages hasn’t stopped the Swiss political system from continuing to foster a near-unmatched rate of civic engagement, and abroad, Switzerland holds form as a beacon of stability in an increasingly conflicted world, unmatched in its role as a broker for peace.
Switzerland’s soft power assets are solid and well-rounded, with few gaps to be found. Though a slight decline in the Enterprise sub-index may prompt the country to apply the lessons behind its Digital jump to the areas of competitiveness and its ability to foster commerce. Switzerland’s lowest ranking comes in the Engagement sub-index, but with at 15th, and for a country of 8.4 million people, it’s unrealistic to expect the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be among the world’s largest diplomatic networks.
As noted in last year’s report, sensible governance doesn’t necessarily convert to feelings of international excitement, and Switzerland’s performance on the index could be boosted through better leveraging the country’s ample soft power assets – its academic institutions, artistic heritage and culinary traditions. As for Switzerland’s foreign policy, the ultimate neutrality principle of “do no harm” seems to be pretty attractive to the rest of the world. It certainly works well for Swiss soft power.