Features

News brief

14 January 2013
ITC News
OECD forecasts a shift in the balance of economic power
The balance of economic power is expected to shift dramatically over the next 50 years as fast-growing emerging market economies account for an ever increasing share of global output. According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Looking to 2060: Long-term growth prospects for the world, divergent long-term growth patterns will lead to radical shifts in the relative size of economies.
The United States of America is expected to cede its place as the world's largest economy to China as early as 2016, while India’s GDP is also expected to pass that of the United States over the long term. Ageing economic heavyweights, such as Japan and the euro area, are expected to gradually lose ground in terms of global GDP to countries with younger populations, such as Indonesia and Brazil.
The report uses a new model to project growth in the 34 OECD member countries and eight major non-OECD G20 economies over the next 50 years. It forecasts global economic growth of 3% annually, with emerging market economies expected to grow at a fast pace and advanced countries expected to grow at slower and often declining rates.
Commenting on the report, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: ‘The economic crisis we have been living with for the past five years will eventually be overcome, but the world our children and grandchildren inherit may be starkly different from ours. As the largest and fastest-growing emerging countries assume a more prominent place in the global economy, we will face new challenges to ensure a prosperous and sustainable world for all. Education and productivity will be the main drivers of future growth and should be policy priorities worldwide.’

Accelerating agribusiness growth in Western Africa
A workshop held at the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin, in October 2012 discussed the development of agribusiness entrepreneurship and agribusiness value chains as a way of empowering young women and men in Western Africa. The four-day event, entitled Women and youth as a catalyst for agribusiness development and growth in Western Africa, attracted over 200 participants from 14 African countries. It was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UN Women, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Development Program.
Participants shared best practices in implementing agribusiness strategies and showcased state-of-the-art processing machinery. The workshop also established a network of young agro-entrepreneurs in the region to share information and develop a strategic plan of action to promote agriculture as a lucrative business. Grace Ongile, the UN Women representative to Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States, commented: ‘When women and youths are empowered, there is a strong link between not only the growth of the agribusiness sector, but also the development of the economy.’

Internet access supports sustainable development
This year’s Internet Governance Forum held in Baku, Azerbaijan in November addressed the theme Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development. The aim of the discussion was to reflect the increasing role of the Internet in the evolution of various aspects of development across all countries.
The four-day event included more than 1,600 delegates from 128 countries, with participants including governments, intergovernmental organizations, business representatives, technical specialists, civil society organizations and individual Internet users interested in Internet governance issues.
Concluding the forum, a spokesperson for Haiyan Qian, Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said helping developing countries build their citizens’ access to the Internet is akin to giving them a tool that boosts their chances of achieving sustainable economic growth. The spokesperson added: ‘The Internet offers a lot of potential and opportunities for sustainable development.’

ITC-World Bank workshop on SMEs in global value chains
The International Trade Centre and the World Bank will in early 2013 organize a joint workshop examining how the public and private sectors can work together to better incorporate developing country producers into the global value chains. The workshop, to be held in Geneva, will bring together multinational corporations and SMEs, and actors from trade and development institutions to discuss challenges and opportunities created by the growing weight of value chains in the global economy, and the implications for the Aid for Trade initiative. It will also look at how public institutions can provide better assistance to expand public-private cooperation.
For SMEs in developing countries, the geographical fragmentation and expansion of value chains may potentially enhance the opportunities to enter the global markets. For developing country governments, this may offer opportunities for wealth and employment creation. However, a particular preoccupation for governments is mobility within the value chain and ensuring that their economies are not caught at the bottom of the global value chain.