For Jobs and Growth, a Focus on Competitiveness

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How can we spur competitive industries? Tune in Saturday, October 13 at 10:30 JST to hear from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , Minister of Finance, Nigeria; Hideto Nakahara, Senior Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Corp.; Byron Auguste, Social Sector Practice Global Leader, McKinsey & Co. and others.Image

With the global economy struggling to rebound from the prolonged financial crisis, the world’s policymakers are now assembling in Tokyo for crucial policy discussions at the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Yet the chronic crisis may lead to new opportunities, if it provokes policymakers to re-think and recalibrate how they approach the challenge of competitiveness, growth and job creation.

 The high stakes in this week’s Tokyo conference were underscored by Bank President Jim Kim, who emphasized long-term growth in his opening press conference on October 10: “Every single economy in the world has to now be focused on the medium- and long-term prospects for growth. . . . Countries that start thinking right now about medium- and long-term competitiveness are going to do much better in the long run.”

Every policymaker, worldwide, is now focused on spurring growth, creating jobs and generating incomes – and one of the most compelling discussions in the Bank’s formal Program of Seminars will bring together leading public-sector and private-sector experts to discuss the Bank’s modernized, market-sensitive approach to spurring growth: the “Competitive Industries” strategy that focuses targeted investment and policy interventions at the industry level.

Our panel’s theme – “From ‘What’ to ‘How’: Implementing Growth” – will keep the discussion focused on the practical, hands-on aspects of creating structural change at the industry level. Driving successful change requires targeted interventions to be implemented with strong cooperation between the public sector and the private sector.

This discussion of pro-growth strategies could scarcely be more timely, helping policymakers worldwide grasp the promise of the “Competitive Industries” strategy for economic development. Complementing the Bank’s longstanding efforts on macro-level and micro-level approaches – via macro efforts through our Investment Climate work and our “Doing Business” indicators, and via a firm-by-firm focus through our International Finance Corporation – Competitive Industries allows policymakers to target strategies at the level of “the missing middle”: the industry level of Private Sector Development.

I hope you will join my fellow panelists and me for this exciting panel discussion – which will be livestreamed at 9:00 a.m. Japan Standard time on Saturday, October 13. For those who cannot join the webcast, the video will be archived online. This panel will help advance the discussion of the Bank’s modernized, market-sensitive approach to industry-level policy action – with a pragmatic focus the “how” of getting the job-creation process right.


Janamitra Devan

Vice President of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, leading its financial-sector and private-sector development network

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