New approaches to development

By Kerem Alkin, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the OECD

2022 will be a year of new approaches to development, in particular new financing models and revitalising development motivation. The main reason why there is a lack of motivation for development is the lack of belief or trust in the existing economic infrastructure in many developing countries of the world. That is why building self-confidence is indispensable to accelerate development, starting with the least developed economies.

For the citizens and stakeholders of a country’s economy, self-confidence is based on three important areas. The first one is strengthened infrastructure, superstructure and public structure, as they are indispensable for the effective functioning of a country’s economy and sustainable development.

Although international organisations such as the United Nations and the OECD have implemented comprehensive sustainable development programmes in most developing countries, infrastructure, labour and business conditions are still not enough to boost citizens’ motivation for development. To support SMEs in developing countries it is critical to ensure the necessary infrastructure and superstructure are in place, without which firms may chose not to invest.

The second important area is the democratisation of economic life by building a private sector that dominates the country’s economy, carries out production and trade with the private sector (and not only with the government), and is equipped with strong non-governmental organisations.

Indeed, democratisation of economic life was the key to Turkey’s success in achieving the sustainable development revolution in the 2000s. The Turkish real sector gained in self-confidence and motivation thanks to a strong network of business associations and non-governmental organisations that have opened up their members to the world.

However, this did not happen in one day. Although Turkey turned towards an outward-oriented growth model in the 1980s, the share of exports in GDP was still around 10% in the late 1990s. Moreover, the uncertainties caused by the 1994 and 2001 crises killed motivation for growth and development. Thus, strategic reforms had to be implemented to redesign Turkey’s administrative structure and strengthen its public institutions to accelerate infrastructure and superstructure investments. This progress, from 2002 to 2004, enabled the Turkish economy to take off and become one of the most important actors in the world economy and global trade as ‘Anatolia opened up to the world’. This defines the third pillar: sustainable export success.

To conclude, strengthened infrastructure and superstructure, strengthened public structure and its modernisation, democratisation of economic life and sustainable export success are all priority areas that international institutions should support to motivate sustainable development and generate self-confidence in developing economies.