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U.S. News Ranks Germany No. 1

That's according to the inaugural "Best Countries" ranking from U.S. News & World Report, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting. The ranking was officially unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Just as we have done with universities, hospitals and other institutions, our Best Countries portal will be a global homepage for stories and data to help citizens, business leaders and governments evaluate performance in a rapidly changing world,” said Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News, in a statement. The publication is well-known all over the world for many of its rankings.

In their most recent ranking, Germany secured its top spot for a number of reasons, its economy being a key factor among them. The country is also, as U.S. News notes in a country profile, home to low unemployment, popular around the world, acknowledged for its high-quality brands and adept at using soft power abroad. Moreover, U.S. News credits Germany's leadership for its global rise.

In one area where leadership is especially important and where Germany has built its economic strength is its network of small and medium sized enterprises known as “Mittelstand” The country is seen as a model for the way in which it trains workers in apprenticeships following secondary school education. Such training programs are part of a larger institutional system that helps foster innovation in existing companies. While Americans envision innovation as inventing a new technological gadget, Germans typically express innovation by improving on an existing practice.

Germany, the most populous nation in the European Union, possesses one of the largest economies in the world and has seen its role in the international community grow steadily since reunification. This central European country borders nine nations, and its landscape varies: from the northern plains that reach upwards to the Baltic and North Seas to the Alps in the south.

www.washingtonpost.com

www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/germany

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