During these difficult years, productivity growth has slowed down, reviving fears that we are now entering a period of poor growth and low job creation. One of the main challenges facing our countries is what to do to re-launch productivity, the main factor of long-term growth, and how to do it. This has been the focus of the report we are launching today entitled “The Future of Productivity”.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are crucial for tracing new paths to more sustainable and inclusive growth, thanks to their role in providing employment. In the OECD area, SMEs provide the main source of employment and value creation, accounting for about 60 to 70% of employment and more than 50% of value added.
Investment is one of the central engines of growth. But we don’t just need investment, we need intelligent investment. We need investment that fosters green growth, we need investment that supports innovation and entrepreneurship.
This edition of the Forum is called “By Africa, For Africa”. The choice of title underscores the importance of African citizens, African companies and African governments as drivers of the development process. The OECD is here to listen, to engage, and to strengthen this unique partnership with Africa and its institutions.
This Global Forum plays an important role as the tool for on-going dialogue on responsible business conduct. I am pleased to announce that today, Ministers from over 20 countries are coming together to discuss how to integrate responsibility considerations throughout government policies. Their work will contribute to protect internationally recognised fundamental rights and to ensure good governance, fair regulations, and transparency.
Going abroad opens new markets for firms, and helps them to become more productive, innovative and ultimately more successful in their business. International investment is also the fuel that helps run the global economy’s engine. But these positive outcomes will only materialise if appropriate framework conditions are in place that allow all companies to compete in a fair and transparent manner, said OECD's Gurría in Beijing.
Today, Costa Rica becomes the 45th country to adhere to the Declaration. This commitment is further evidence of Costa Rica’s strong pledge to create an attractive climate for investment, to build on previous efforts which have already contributed substantially to the country’s economic progress. It is also an important step to strengthen the growing ties between Costa Rica and the OECD, said Angel Gurría.
To better integrate their economies into Global Value Chains, governments need a fine-tuned understanding of their dynamics and policies, and we have made considerable progress on this front. For example, we have learned that success in international markets depends as much on the capacity to import high-quality inputs as on the capacity to export: intermediate inputs account for over 2/3 of the goods and 70% of the services we trade.
The OECD is deeply saddened by the tragedy at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. Our hearts go out to all of those affected. This event is a dramatic wakeup call for the international textile industry, governments, and other stakeholders to address the risks before they result in tragedies such as this.
Now all governments realise why SMEs and entrepreneurship matter: because they are the sources of new jobs.