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Lebanon and Tunisia have the strongest productive capacities of the Mediterranean developing countries




Tunisia is awarded the third highest productive capacity index on the African continent (photo: F.Dubessy)
Tunisia is awarded the third highest productive capacity index on the African continent (photo: F.Dubessy)
WORLD. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launched a Productive Capacity Index (PCI) on Monday 8 February 2021. Determined by eight components* and forty-six indicators, with performances rated from 1 to 100, it makes it possible to measure the capacity of its 193 member states to achieve their socio-economic transformation.
UNCTAD defines productive capacities as the productive resources, entrepreneurial capabilities and production linkages that together determine a country's ability to produce goods and services that enable it to grow and develop.

"This new tool will help developing countries improve their development policies and reduce poverty. It will also strengthen their economic resilience in the face of shocks such as the coronavirus pandemic that is devastating economies around the world," says a statement from the Geneva-based agency. The KPI data were collected between 2000 and 2018 and are now all available on the UN agency's statistics website. They are intended as "a practical guide and diagnostic tool to inform trade and development policy choices at the national level," says Paul Akiwumi, director of UNCTAD's Division for Africa and Least Developed Countries.

Tunisia first south of the Mediterranean

With a KPI of 33.7 for the latest year of data reference (2018), Lebanon ranks first among the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. Tunisia (33.2 KPI, the same as Montenegro) ranks second, taking third place on the African continent behind South Africa (74th in the world with 34 KPI) and Mauritius (46th with 37.4 KPI). Tunisia has excellent scores in the private sector (index of 83.8), human capital (56.8) and natural capital (58) categories.

"As countries struggle to tackle the health crisis, building the productive capacities of their economies to move towards inclusive and sustainable growth is more necessary than ever," UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.

By way of comparison, in the region, Algeria has a Productive Capacity Index of 27.8, Libya 24.2, Egypt 29.4 and Morocco 30.5. Further east, Jordan has a PCI of 31, Syria 24.7 and Palestine 31.3. "In general, many developing countries, especially the least developed and landlocked countries, are in decline in all areas of KPI except natural capital. "This is largely due to their over-reliance on commodity exports and production limited to a few sectors," says an UNCTAD press release. In particular, the text notes "significant gaps" in key aspects related to productive capacities, including in relation to structural change, institutions, energy, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and human capital". Thus, Turkey achieves an index of only 34.3, handicapped by its scores in terms of transport (18.2) and ICT (12.7).

"There is no universal roadmap to foster the development of productive capacities and the structural transformation of an economy," says Paul Akiwumi. According to him, "policies need to be developed at the national level, taking into account the constraints, opportunities and comparative advantages of each country".


* Human capital, natural capital, energy, transport, information and communication technologies (ICTs), institutions, private sector, structural change.


 

Eric Apim


Tuesday, February 9th 2021



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