Stakeholder News

Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic, Quality Infrastructure Continues to Grow Worldwide

Global Quality Infrastructure Index data documents the development status and dynamics of quality infrastructure in 184 countries

Ulrich Harmes-Liedtke
TU Berlin

Due to the growing importance of Quality Infrastructure (QI) worldwide, stakeholders both inside and outside of the QI ecosystem are becoming more interested in reliable data and information on the development status of QI in their respective countries.

The Global Quality Infrastructure Index (GQII) is a pioneer in measuring QI’s development status and dynamics worldwide. The team of authors has been working on the measurability of national quality systems for over a decade. In close coordination with representatives and experts from QI bodies worldwide, key indicators were identified, the data collected, and a composite index was created. The Index is based on publicly available data from organisations for metrology, standards, and accreditation around the world.

In the area of accreditation, the GQII is based on data published by 107 accreditation bodies. 90 accreditation bodies provided their data directly to the GQII team or validated the collected data from their websites. The number of accredited conformity assessment bodies in the twelve scopes (Level 2) of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) or the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) was recorded. In addition, accreditation bodies that are signatories to an MLA or MRA at the international or regional level were considered.

The GQII presents a ranking of the state of development of the QI system and its central components in 184 countries. An overview of global QI development is illustrated in Figure 1, where the leading countries in QI, such as Germany (1), China (2) and the United States (3), are in darker shades of blue, while the countries with less developed QI systems are in shades of orange. At the bottom of the GQII ranking are some least developed countries and some smaller island states.

Figure: QI development worldwide. Source: GQII 2021 based on © Mapbox OpenStreetMap
Colour scale: Dark blue (high level of development); intense orange (low level).

Essential when interpreting the ranking is that a country’s QI development should be commensurate with its economy’s complexity. The correlation with trade statistics shows that the QI of most countries corresponds to their export strength. QI development often follows foreign trade, but at the same time, investments in QI support the economic catching-up of developing economies.

Table: QI development 2020 -2021. Source: GQII 2021

As previously mentioned, the GQII also shows the development of the different QI components. Comparing the data collected in 2020 and 2021 gives an impression of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on QI worldwide. All recorded indicators grew. The increases in management certification and medical laboratories are particularly strong. However, more substantial QI development was observed in developed countries compared to their developing counterparts. The widening gap confirms the need for continued support for developing and emerging countries to help them catch up with the leading countries in QI development.

Beyond the ranking, GQII data allows for various applications. The 2021 GQII Report provides multiple examples of how the data can be used in practice. For instance, accreditation bodies can see which accreditation scopes are experiencing growth. The GQII also collects information on the cross-border activities of accreditation bodies. Thus, even in countries without their own accreditation body, the number of accredited conformity assessment bodies is recorded. The Report’s annexes contain examples of country profiles and a timeline of important QI events in 2021, highlighting the connection between quantitative and qualitative data.

GQII data also shows the link between QI and progress with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In his foreword to the report, Emanuele Riva emphasises that “…every nation should approach this index strategically and work towards improving its position in the ranking because the GQII’s correlation with economic development and its relevance for creating a sustainable future is evident.”

The report can be downloaded from the following link:

Further information on the GQII can be found at: .

Categories: Stakeholder News