For over two years now, the New Approaches to Economic Challenges initiative has helped to transform the OECD’s economic thinking and acting, to adjust and renew our analyses, models and recommendations. We have come a long way.
Today we are here to talk about a new approach to growth. A type of growth that we aspire for future generations: more resilient, more inclusive and greener. We have intensified our efforts to revise our economic thinking and acting, our analyses, models and recommendations, and are now beginning to see concrete results which we are streamlining into our policy advice.
The United Kingdom has made tremendous progress in recovering from the largest economic crisis in 80 years. And this progress has laid the foundations for further reforms needed to boost productivity and inclusiveness.
The over-arching message of the 2015 OECD Economic Survey of Italy is straight forward: ‘a lot done, a lot more to do’. OECD Secretary-General shared some of the main findings.
We therefore need a “copernician” change in our approach to the growth – inequality nexus: let’s not think growth first, and inequality thereafter but let’s consider both of them, together, in their circularity. In other words, let’s think “Inclusive Growth”, right from the start, and let’s make it another touchstone of our efforts and complement the Pittsburgh tryptic of strong, sustainable and balanced growth!
Going for Growth is the OECD’s flagship report on structural policies. The purpose of Going for Growth is to help governments setting a reform agenda to improve citizens’ well-being. It has been instrumental in helping G20 countries to develop growth strategies to raise their combined gross domestic product (GDP) by 2% over baseline projections by 2018 – as agreed by G20 Leaders in Brisbane last year.
Belgium is one of the few euro area countries where GDP has already surpassed pre-crisis levels. Also, general well-being is above the average of OECD countries. When looking at the various dimensions of well-being – economic, social or environmental – Belgium has a strong performance in almost all of them. Remarkably, despite the crisis, income inequality has remained relatively low compared to other OECD countries.
Estonia was among the countries hardest hit by the crisis, but it is bouncing back strongly. Nonetheless, Estonia is still a ‘catch-up country’, with some distance to travel before it closes the income gap with top-performing OECD countries.
Angel Gurría has presented President Santos with our report “Colombia: Policy Priorities for Inclusive Development”. This report supplements the Economic Survey of Colombia released on 19 January, reflecting the close co-operation between the OECD and the Colombian Government in designing the National Development Plan 2014-2018, which seeks to bring about a Colombia where there is peace, greater equity and better education.
Africa has made significant progress in recent years but important challenges to African development remain that we can break down into three linked areas. Let’s call them the “three i’s”: interconnectedness, investment, and inclusiveness.