The future of manufacturing and development: three things to remember

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By Annalisa Primi, Head, Structural Policies and Innovation, OECD Development Centre 


To learn more about countries’ strategies for economic transformation, follow the 10th Plenary and High-Level Meeting of the OECD Initiative for Policy Dialogue on Global Value Chains, Production Transformation and Development in Paris, France on 27-28 June 2018


shutterstock_444327613Not all factories are the same. Today, their differences are bigger, more impressive and carry far-reaching implications for development in developing economies. Since the 1970s, industrial production has been organised in complex, multi-country networks of suppliers and providers. The conventional expectation was that this trend would be conducive to growing homogeneity, with converging techniques of production, salaries, standards and business organisation in the “world factory” system. However, as things do not often go “by the book”, manufacturing today encompasses far different realities. China has become the world’s leading manufacturing country. Early industrialisers have built complex value chains, delocalising non-core manufacturing activities to developing economies with relatively lower labour costs and growing domestic markets. The result: manufacturing is a collection of deeply different systems. And differences exist even within the same sector. Just look at the textiles industrial parks in Ethiopia that manufacture for and export fast fashion brands, such as Spain’s Zara. Or look at the robot-powered, fully automated smart factory of Adidas in Germany, which has been making customised mass production of textiles a reality in Europe since 2016. Consider the artisanal, luxury, on-demand, tailor-made production of Lamborghinis in Emilia Romagna, the highly automated export-oriented Audi production in Mexico, and the vertically integrated, only partially automated, domestic market-oriented BYD electric vehicle factory in Shenzhen, China. Continue reading

How to Build Inclusive Digital Economies

By Atul Mehta, Director, IFC, Telecom, Media & Technology, Fintech, Venture Capital & Funds; Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Senior Director, World Bank Group, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice; and Jose Luis Irigoyen, Senior Director, World Bank, Transport and Digital Development Global Practice

 

digital-economyIf we wish to create a future built on shared prosperity, digital technology will be critical.

Today, of the world’s 10 largest companies by market capitalisation, six are technology companies. And of those, only two were in the top 10 just five years ago — which gives you a sense of how quickly the global economy is being disrupted.

In fact, as technology innovation accelerates, it may be the best path to inclusive growth. Extending Internet access in developing countries to levels seen in developed countries could enhance productivity by as much as 25%, according to Deloitte. The resulting economic activity could generate USD 2.2 trillion in additional GDP and more than 140 million new jobs.

At the World Bank Group, we have been putting quite a lot of thought into understanding what it takes to create a successful and inclusive digital economy, in light of our mission to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Technology can be a force for good — by promoting economic inclusion, efficiency, and innovation. But it can also cause upheaval — by displacing jobs or imperiling the security of personal and government data, and even critical infrastructure. And it can widen the digital divide — increasing the gap between those who benefit from technology and those who are excluded and risk falling further behind. That’s why technology’s risks and opportunities must be carefully managed.
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