Among the BRICS economies, China topped the list at 28th place with a score of 72.6, ahead of the Russian Federation (65.6, 43rd), India (62.0, 58th), South Africa (60.8, 67th), and Brazil (59.5, 72nd). Those indicators are then organised into 12 pillars, such as health, skills, financial system, infrastructure, and institutions.
Taiwan's financial system also ranked in the top 10 with a 7th place finish. It also pointed out that the United States is far behind most advanced economies in health, with life expectancy six years behind competitors Singapore and Japan.
The latest ranking shows Bangladesh slipping below 100 again after it had moved up eight notches to rank 99th among 138 nations past year.
"I foresee a new global divide between countries who understand innovative transformations and those that don't", he said in a statement.
Singapore came in second, heralded for its infrastructure and openness as a global trading hub. Switzerland, which has held the top spot for almost a decade, was bumped down to fourth place after the WEF changed its methodology for the study to one that reflects the shifts in a world that is constantly transformed by new, digital technologies.
The WEF adapted the report, which it has put out for 40 years, to account for the importance of technology as an economic driver in the modern era, which WEF refers to as "the Fourth Industrial Revolution".
Coming in at 43rd place, Russia's standing was buoyed in the WEF rating this year by stable macroeconomics, a large market size, information and communications technology adoption and human capital, according to the rating released on Wednesday.
"They're an innovation power house", Saadia Zahidi, a member of the WEF's managing board, told AFP.
It stated that under the institutions pillar, the country ranked low in terrorism incidence (136th), organized crime (120th), regulating conflict of interest in institutions (121st), and the reliability of police service (123rd).
Russian Federation and China were the only emerging markets that placed in the top 50.