Competitiveness and Innovation take center stage in Brussels Conference

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Competitive and innovative economies can provide jobs for young people with an interest in innovation. (Credit: IRRI, Flickr Creative Commons)One of the year’s largest conferences focusing on international development, European Development Days (EDDs) will be convened by the European Commission this week in Brussels, bringing together about 6,000 development professionals to discuss the theme, “Supporting inclusive and sustainable growth for human development.” A large contingent from the World Bank Group will take part in the array of EDDs panels and seminars – many of them to be livestreamed – on such topics as the global food crisis, environmental sustainability and resilience, women’s entrepreneurship and inclusive urbanization.

If the 2012 gathering is anything like the six previous EDD conferences, this week’s Brussels gathering is likely to resemble a pop-up university, focused on all aspects of today’s development challenges.

Those who focus on private sector development might be especially interested by a number of this week’s panels on the economy and business – including a discussion at 2 p.m. Brussels Time  (8 a.m. US Eastern Time) on Wednesday, October 17 exploring “Building Competitive Industries and Systems for Green and Inclusive Innovation.” Along with senior government officials from Vietnam and Niger, and leaders of Siemens Africa and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation/EuropeAid, World Bank Vice President Janamitra Devan will be taking part in that panel, highlighting the efforts of our Competitive Industries and Innovation Program (CIIP).

The CIIP is a focused initiative to assert the World Bank Group's knowledge and implementation capabilities on behalf of our clients, supported by many of our development partners as we coordinate our strategies and investment efforts. The CIIP aims to help client countries build and accelerate productive businesses that can generate jobs and unleash inclusive growth at scale; to help developing countries build innovative, competitive economies by harnessing the power of the private sector; to identify specific opportunities for the expansion of private industries, and for the promotion of innovative entrepreneurship, through targeted technical assistance and support operations; to deliver global knowledge tailored to the particular circumstances of each economy; to mobilize the convening power and financial resources of the WBG and its development partners; to help countries identify and pursue market opportunities by working with the private sector and governments in partnership; and to help countries develop targeted, multi-year reform initiatives to systematically address any critical “market failures” that hold back innovative entrepreneurs, and that hinder industries from entering global markets.

CIIP is an exciting new venture for the World Bank Group that responds to the development needs that many of our clients have voiced to us. It’s clear that marketplace demand for such assistance is growing: The EDDs discussion of CIIP will occur just a few days after many of the same themes were emphasized amid the Program of Seminars at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which featured a panel on building competitiveness.  The sustained focus on competitiveness and innovation  responds to our clients’ search for activist policy solutions to the problems of a stagnant economy and stalled job growth.

Policymakers everywhere are searching for pro-active solutions to the economic problems in the wake of the global financial crisis, and I hope you will enjoy the livestreamed or archived video of this discussion. The panel will help spread the word about the CIIP initiative, which holds the promise of continuous innovation and sustainable job creation in a more inclusive global economy.


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