Open Access and Open Data for the Information and Knowledge Economy

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Developing economies to eclipse west by 2060, OECD forecasts

Posted by infokelele on November 15, 2012

That’s a bold statement!

But it is also the verdict of one of the latest OECD reports, Looking to 2060: A Global Vision of Long-Term Growth, most recently also referenced by the Guardian.

The underlying assumptions:

  • Unemployment in the west will go back to the numbers prior to the latest global financial crisis.
  • Productivity will grow faster in developing economies thanks in part to ICTs and its enabling openness that brings higher returns to scale and valuable innovations but market reforms including labor market reforms would be just as key determinants.
  • Significant improvements in education in the forecast high growth countries.

Growth data is provided at the macro-level; that in itself normally masks the actual extent of wellbeing but usually not bad as a starting point in understanding the best interventions to increase per capita income levels as well!

The book, The fastest billion – The Story Behind Africa’s Economic Revolution, places Africa in this growth trajectory with a caveat – an average of a 2 per cent annual growth rate would have to be maintained over the next three decades. The book dares suggest that the break out countries could have as strong economies as today’s strongest by 2048. Because of the tremendous diversity of the continent, the reader is advised to look at individual country analyses to get a better sense of specific high growth spots.

Five years ago, in their widely acclaimed publication, Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues to 2012, Oxford Analytica put a finger on these trends. They seem to have been spot on.

Technology is the main driver with Open Access and Open Data putting more countries at a more competitive advantage. The comparative advantages of the yester years just wont do. They remain important but their importance can’t nearly match the innovations of the Open Economies. These days for instance, when you want to know where mobile money is driving the fastest growth, you don’t look anywhere else other than Kenya’s M-Pesa for the best lessons. And we will not have heard the last of international companies scrambling for a piece of the action from the innovation labs of Nairobi. The interest is not limited to Nairobi. These days, it is an exception if a single week passes by without an Africa investors’ conference happening somewhere.

The trends are supported by the accompanying trends in ICT in Development rankings

The developments just go on to demonstrate how Economic Development can be barren without wider Political Emancipation. As Open Access and Open Data initiatives open up opportunities for wider more meaningful political participation, leadership accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs, countries that had been missing these ingredients will see even larger sustainable spurts in their economic growth than has been already projected!

Over to you, what do you think?


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