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19/01/2021

Africa’s Development Dynamics 2021: Digital Transformation for Quality Jobs

12/01/2021

OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2021

OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2021

11/01/2021

Making Better Policies for Food Systems

Making Better Policies for Food Systems

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18/02/2021
Firm entry has rebounded after the drop experienced during the first COVID-19 lockdowns of early 2020, yet the recovery in entry rates is highly heterogeneous across countries, with possible long-term implications for employment and output growth. Financial support to firms’ liquidity and temporary changes to insolvency procedures have been effective in reducing bankruptcies, on average, by more than 30% relative to the pre-pandemic period. Policy measures may have protected viable and productive firms and avoided the systemic risks posed by a wave of bankruptcies, but at the risk of potentially keeping non-viable (the so-called zombie) firms afloat. Governments should implement a balanced strategy to phase out emergency support policies and pursue a gradual approach focusing on restoring the equity of distressed firms, encouraging timely debt restructuring and improving the efficiency of liquidation procedures, with the aim of fostering resource reallocation.
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16/02/2021
The management of multilateral fish stocks is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted the operations of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), which have jurisdiction over fish stocks that either straddle the exclusive economic zones of several countries or are predominantly in the high seas. This is largely because of reduced monitoring, control and surveillance capacity due to limitations imposed on the operations of observer and surveillance programmes and the challenges of decision making in virtual meetings. A survey undertaken in July 2020, to which 13 RFMOs and nine OECD members responded, reveals that: i) over two-thirds of RFMOs have reduced in-person and on-board observation of vessels, increasing the opportunity for unscrupulous operators to engage in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing; and ii) almost all (92.3%) RFMOs surveyed have experienced disruption to their regular scheduled meetings and 84.6% reported disturbance to regular decision making. Nonetheless, on a positive note, the COVID-19 pandemic may spur the uptake of new technologies for virtual meetings and the monitoring of fishing activities.
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11/02/2021
The policy debate on whether the gains from international specialisation in global value chains (GVCs) outweigh the associated risks of transmission of shocks has intensified in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting disruptions in supply chains of some manufacturing and medical products. Questions are even being asked whether governments should use policy tools to “re-localis” GVCs. This policy brief first identifies key potential sources of exposure to shocks in GVCs. Second, it uses the OECD’s global trade model to shed light on the consequences of a stylised re-localisation policy scenario, in terms of both economic efficiency and stability. In this scenario, countries are less exposed to foreign shocks, but they are also less efficient and less able to cushion shocks through trade. Quantitatively, the latter effect tends to dominate. The economic case for policy-induced reshoring of GVCs is therefore weak. There is nevertheless scope for international co-operation and governments to join efforts with businesses to improve risk preparedness.
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04/02/2021
The Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India is a regular publication on regional economic growth, development and regional integration in Emerging Asia. It focuses on the economic conditions of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. It also addresses relevant economic issues in China and India to fully reflect economic developments in the region. The Outlook comprises two main parts, each highlighting a particular dimension of recent economic developments in the region. The first part presents the regional economic monitor, depicting the economic outlook and macroeconomic challenges in the region. The second part consists of a special thematic chapter addressing a major issue facing the region. The 2021 edition of the Outlook addresses reallocation of resources to digitalisation in response to COVID-19, with special focuses on health, education and Industry 4.0. During the COVID-19 crisis, digitalisation has proved critical to ensuring the continuity of essential services. The use of e-commerce, digital health tools and on-line education all accelerated sharply during the pandemic in Emerging Asia. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, for the region to be able to get the full benefits of digitalisation.
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04/02/2021
In the last decades, Chile has made tremendous progress towards greater economic prosperity and lower poverty. Per capita income more than doubled over the past 20 years and is now the highest in Latin America. These progresses have now come to a halt. Since October 2019 Chile has faced two unprecedented shocks, the social protests and the COVID 19 outbreak. Income convergence was already slowing before these shocks amid modest productivity growth and while the past growth performance has lifted many Chileans out of poverty over the last three decades, income inequality remains high by OECD standards. However, such unprecedented times gives the opportunity to create consensus among citizens around major pending reforms, strengthen common values around the importance of having strong public services and the relevance of belonging to the formal sector. Achieving such economic and social improvements will require further progress toward reducing inequalities and building a stronger middle-class, raising productivity and the dynamism of SMEs, that will be especially impacted by the outbreak. Moreover, during the pandemic digital technologies are being critical to sustain continuity in business and jobs. Digitalisation will play an ever important role in the recovery, while addressing the persistent low productivity.SPECIAL FEATURE: DIGITALISATION, PRODUCTIVITY AND SKILLS
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03/02/2021
Despite potentially tremendous benefits, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lag in the digital transformation. Emerging technologies, as diverse as they are, offer a range of applications for them to improve performance and overcome the size-related limitations they face in doing business. However, SMEs must be better prepared, and stakes are high. SMEs make the most of the industrial fabric in many countries and regions, they create jobs (most jobs sometimes) and are the cement of inclusive and sustainable societies. The SME digital gap has increased inequalities among people, places and firms, and there are concerns that the benefits of the digital transformation could accrue to early adopters, further broadening these inequalities. Enabling SME digitalisation has become a top policy priority in OECD countries and beyond. The report looks at recent trends in SME digital uptake, including in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. It focuses on issues related to digital security, online platforms, blockchain ecosystems, and artificial intelligence. The report identifies opportunities, risks of not going digital, and barriers to adoption. It looks to concrete policy action taken worldwide to speed the SME transformation and raises a series of considerations to advance the SME digital policy agenda.
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29/01/2021
The COVID-19 outbreak abruptly stopped several years of robust economic growth in Bulgaria. Public finances are sound and the government took rapid action to support firms and households. Coping with the pandemic and strengthening the recovery will require continued fiscal support, public investment and the advancement of priority reforms. Bulgaria also faces the challenge of how to sustain and ultimately enhance improvements in living standards for all to tackle rising inequality and persistently high poverty. Tackling obstacles to business sector growth will be key to attracting investment, boosting productivity and providing people with skills to take advantage of new job opportunities. Many rural regions are suffering from depopulation and rapid ageing. Regional income differences in Bulgaria are larger than in most OECD countries and growth has been lower in regions without larger cities. Investments in infrastructure and housing reform would help to boost mobility and strengthen links to national and international supply chains.SPECIAL FEATURES: STRUCTURAL REFORMS TO RAISE PRODUCTIVITY AND BOOST CONVERGENCE; REDUCING REGIONAL DISPARITIES FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH
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26/01/2021
Small island developing states (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which is disrupting key economic sectors that SIDS’ undiversified and already fragile economies strongly rely upon. While they are succeeding to contain the health emergency, SIDS are faced with severe economic impacts which require bold government action and adequate international support. This policy brief: (i) highlights the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across SIDS; (ii) provides an overview of the support delivered by development co-operation providers to face the crisis; and (iii) provides suggestions to ensure that international support can lead to a fast and sustainable recovery in SIDS: a ‘blue’ recovery.
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22/01/2021
COVID-19 disruptions to international mobility drove a collapse in services trade. In the medium term, the OECD estimates that closing borders to passengers could increase services trade costs by an average of 12% across sectors and countries. Restoring safe cross-border mobility through internationally co-ordinated border health protocols and mutual recognition agreements is therefore crucial to a strong economic recovery.
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19/01/2021
Africa’s Development Dynamics uses lessons learned in the continent’s five regions – Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa – to develop policy recommendations and share good practices. Drawing on the most recent statistics, this analysis of development dynamics attempts to help African leaders reach the targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels: continental, regional, national and local.The 2021 edition, now published at the beginning of the year, explores how digitalisation can create quality jobs and contribute to achieving Agenda 2063, thereby making African economies more resilient to the global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report targets four main policy areas for Africa’s digital transformation: bridging the digital divide; supporting local innovation; empowering own-account workers; and harmonising, implementing and monitoring digital strategies. This edition includes a new chapter examining how to finance Africa’s development despite the 2020 global economic crisis.Africa’s Development Dynamics feeds into a policy debate between the African Union’s governments, citizens, entrepreneurs and researchers. It aims to be part of a new collaboration between countries and regions, which focuses on mutual learning and the preservation of common goods. This report results from a partnership between the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.
14/01/2021
After initial success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and a strong economic rebound, Turkey faces a resurgence of cases which puts pressure on the country’s health system, public resources, social cohesion and macroeconomic sustainability. Public finances offer room for government support to the households and businesses most in need, but this should be provided under a more transparent and predictable fiscal, quasi-fiscal, monetary and financial policy framework. In the early phases of the pandemic, shortcomings in the macroeconomic framework weighed on market confidence, creating tensions in risk premia, capital movements and exchange rates, which complicated macroeconomic policy responses to the crisis. New demands and opportunities also arose for structural change in the business sector. Product, labour and capital market reforms, bundled with a comprehensive upgrading of vocational education, would accelerate the much needed formalisation of business activities, the re-balancing of firm balance sheets with external equity capital, and a broad-based digital modernisation. A stronger, more sustainable and more inclusive post-COVID growth trajectory would then be within reach.SPECIAL FEATURE: UNLEASHING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE BUSINESS SECTOR
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12/01/2021
In immediate responses to the COVID-19 crisis, science and innovation are playing essential roles in providing a better scientific understanding of the virus, as well as in the development of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. Both the public and private sectors have poured billions of dollars into these efforts, accompanied by unprecedented levels of global cooperation. However, the economic crisis that is currently unfolding is expected to severely curtail research and innovation expenditures in firms, while debt-laden governments will face multiple, competing demands for financial support. These developments threaten to cause long-term damage to innovation systems at a time when science and innovation are most needed to deal with the climate emergency, meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and accelerate the digital transformation. Governments will need to take measures to protect their innovation systems as part of their stimulus and recovery packages, but should also use these as opportunities for reforms. In particular, science, technology and innovation (STI) policy should shift towards supporting a more ambitious agenda of system transformation that promotes a managed transition to more sustainable, equitable and resilient futures.
11/01/2021
Food systems around the world face a triple challenge: providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population; supporting livelihoods for those working along the food supply chain; and contributing to environmental sustainability. Better policies hold tremendous promise for making progress in these domains. This report focuses on three questions. What has been the performance of food systems to date, and what role did policies play? How can policy makers design coherent policies across the triple challenge? And how can policy makers deal with frictions related to facts, interests, and values, which often complicate the task of achieving better policies? Better policies will require breaking down silos between agriculture, health, and environmental policies, and overcoming knowledge gaps, resistance from interest groups, and differing values. Robust, inclusive, evidence-based processes are thus essential to making better policies for food systems.
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08/01/2021
This policy brief reports on the activity of online platforms during the COVID-19 crisis. Google Trends data for OECD and other G20 countries indicate that in some areas (such as retail sales, restaurant delivery, and mobile payments) online-platform use increased markedly during the first half of 2020, when most countries imposed lockdown and physical distancing measures. Thus, in this period, some economic transactions may have shifted to online marketplaces as people and businesses increasingly turned to online platforms to pursue economic and social activities. The rise in platform use was however highly heterogeneous across areas of activity and countries. Countries with higher levels of economic and technological development, easier access to infrastructure and connectivity, better digital skills, and wider Internet use tended to experience a larger increase in the use of online marketplaces, possibly mitigating the negative effects on output and jobs of the COVID-19 shock. This highlights the role of policies in strengthening countries’ digital preparedness and their resilience to future shocks.
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22/12/2020
The devastating impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on developing countries have tested the limits, ingenuity and flexibility of development co-operation while also uncovering best practices. This 58th edition of the Development Co-operation Report draws out early insights from leaders, OECD members, experts and civil society on the implications of coronavirus (COVID-19) for global solidarity and international co-operation for development in 2021 and beyond. The report suggests ways forward for the international development community as a whole for bold action and systemic reform to build resilient national and international systems capable of coping with global shocks, and providing and protecting global public goods while reinforcing the fundamental building blocks for sustainable development. The annual “development co-operation at a glance” infographics showcase the latest trends in development finance for over 80 providers of development co-operation, including members of the OECD, the Development Assistance Committee, other countries and philanthropic foundations.
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18/12/2020
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, a number of tax administrations have already published domestic guidance on some of the transfer pricing implications of COVID-19. While this is an important first step in setting taxpayer expectations, facilitating co-operative compliance and delivering greater tax certainty, the two-sided nature of transfer pricing means that it is only by agreeing a common approach that tax administrations can enhance tax certainty. This Guidance clarifies and illustrates the practical application of the arm’s length principle as articulated in the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines to the unique fact patterns and specific challenges implied by the COVID-19 pandemic. Four priority issues were identified and are covered in the Guidance: (i) comparability analysis; (ii) losses and the allocation of COVID-19 specific costs; (iii) government assistance programmes; and (iv) advance pricing agreements (“APAs”). This Guidance was developed and approved by the 137 members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS. While it is recognised that some Inclusive Framework members may also follow the United Nations Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries (2017), this Guidance should be helpful in such circumstances where the UN Manual follows a similar analytical framework and allows for similar conclusions as the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines.
16/12/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe human suffering and triggered a deep recession in Brazil. Economic policies reacted in a timely and decisive manner to the crisis, supporting millions of Brazilians. But a strong and inclusive recovery from the recession will require long-lasting improvements in economic policies. Improving fiscal outcomes remains one of Brazil’s principal challenges given a high debt burden, to which the pandemic has added significantly. Public spending will need to become more efficient, including by building on past progress in the fight against corruption and economic crimes. Social protection can be strengthened through a better focus on the most effective policies and benefits, which could allow significant reductions in inequality and poverty. Stronger growth will hinge on raising productivity, which has been virtually stagnant for decades. This requires addressing underlying policy challenges, including reducing regulatory burdens, reforming taxes, strengthening judicial efficiency and fostering a stronger integration into the global economy. Raising productivity implies reallocations and structural changes in the economy, which should be accompanied by well-designed training and education policies. Training with a strong focus on local skill demand can help workers master the transition and seize new opportunities to move into better jobs. SPECIAL FEATURES: BOOSTING PRODUCTIVITY; SKILLS POLICIES TO FACILITATE STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT
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16/12/2020
The least developed countries (LDCs) are the furthest from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are also likely to be hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis and badly need the additional private finance that blended finance can unlock. Yet evidence shows that too little private finance is mobilised for investment in LDCs. How can this be fixed?The Blended Finance in the Least Developed Countries 2020 report is the third edition and second joint UNCDF-OECD report. It builds on UNCDF research and transactional experience, OECD data and analysis on private finance mobilized by official development finance, and a series consultations with and contributions by blended finance experts, LDC governments, UN missions, donors, civil society and research institutions. The report provides an update on the deployment of blended finance in LDCs. It also analyses its potential role in helping those countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis, and provides an Action Agenda for unlocking capital for the achievement of the SDGs in LDCs, as called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
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14/12/2020
The outlook for the tourism sector remains highly uncertain. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to hit hard, with international tourism expected to decrease by around 80% in 2020. Domestic tourism is helping to soften the blow, at least partially, and governments have taken impressive immediate action to restore and re-activate the sector, while protecting jobs and businesses. Many countries are also now developing measures to build a more resilient tourism economy post COVID-19. These include preparing plans to support the sustainable recovery of tourism, promoting the digital transition and move to a greener tourism system, and rethinking tourism for the future. Rebuilding tourism for the future.
11/12/2020
Transport connects people, places and cities. Investment in transport infrastructure therefore helps bridging economic and social divides. It promotes economic growth and catching up of regions by providing access to jobs for workers and markets for firms. This report summarises evidence on the benefits of transport investment for economic growth and job creation and thereby for catching up in OECD regions. Beyond economic divides, the report consider inequality in access to opportunities using the EC-ITF-OECD Urban Access Framework. It considers how transport can bridge social divides by taking a closer look at accessibility within OECD cities (functional urban areas). Cities differ greatly in their ability to provide inclusive access to opportunities across more affluent and poorer neighbourhoods. To bridge divides, the report highlights the need to go beyond transport infrastructure investment and consider wider urban planning, as well as complementary measures in regions.
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