Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, delivered opening remarks at the 2021 OECD Southeast Asia Regional Forum, on 20 May 2021. The (virtual) event focused on "Human Capital Development in Southeast Asia: Fostering Competitiveness to Build Back Better".
Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, delivered remarks at the presentation of the OEI report on Higher Education, Competitiveness and Productivity, on 17 May 2021.
This report is the result of a close and fruitful co-operation between the OECD and the Icelandic authorities. I want to start by thanking those involved in the inter-governmental High Level Committee, representing around a dozen Ministries and Departments, who provided substantial commitment and support to the project.
We are living in uncertain times. The Interim Economic Outlook, which we released only 10 days ago, projects global GDP to fall by 4.5% this year, before picking up to 5% in 2021. However, output in many countries will still be below the pre-crisis levels by the end of 2021, and well below what was projected prior to the pandemic.
The OECD has been actively supporting our members and partners throughout the COVID-19 crisis. As part of our response, we launched a Digital Hub on Tackling the Coronavirus, providing a single entry point to the OECD’s analysis on the economic and social impacts of COVID-19.
It is now widely accepted that strong competition contributes to a country’s competitiveness and economic growth. Well-documented benefits of competition include lower prices, higher productivity, more innovation and job creation, and in some cases, more responsible business conduct.
This year’s theme “Competition Under Fire” captures the prevailing atmosphere in many of our societies. Not only are the objectives and enforcement of competition law under fire, but also many governments, corporations, banks, whole economic systems are being challenged around the world.
It is creating entirely new market dynamics. We’re talking about very big business here. The value of personal data in Europe alone has been forecast to reach almost EUR 1 trillion annually by 2020. Data can be crucial in developing digital services that provide value to consumers. But we need to better understand the role of data as a new factor of production and how it can drive productivity.
I am delighted to welcome you to the OECD and to open this high-level conference on A New Reform Agenda for a More Competitive South East Europe.
Strengthening a country's competitiveness is always a work in progress, one that is permanent and cannot be postponed. In turn, competition is essential if markets are to function properly.