Services have emerged as the key driver of economic growth in southern Africa and account for more than half of GDP. Increases in the contribution of services to GDP have been stimulated by both demand and supply-side factors. On the demand side, broader economic growth, coupled with export revenues and a growing population, has contributed to the increasing importance of services in the economies of many countries in the region. On the supply side, countries have implemented measures to improve access to basic services, are attempting to improve the competitive environment of their services sectors, and, through their regional integration efforts, have improved transport and logistics services in the region. However, further supply-side efforts are required to ensure that economies in the region can take advantage of the opportunities offered by services and services trade.

Services can contribute to the achievement of sustainable development objectives, as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in a number of ways including, but not limited to, driving economic growth, increasing the competitiveness of SMEs, improving female participation in services sectors, and expanding access to vital basic and network services.

Services regulations can support the attainment of the SDGs in a two-track manner.  Appropriate regulations which encourage efficiency and productivity can boost competitiveness and economic growth which, in turn, support the attainment of the more general SDGs such as SDG 1 (reducing poverty) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). Secondly, tackling market failures in specific sectors and encouraging universal access targets for particular services can contribute to sustainable development objectives such as SDG 4 (quality and universal education) and SDG 7 (affordable energy).

 

Digital trade is the fastest growing and most dynamic sector in the global economy and has the potential to not only promote economic efficiencies and productivity gains, but also to support the achievement of sustainable development objectives in developing economies. This digital economic transformation, buttressed by the globalization of the internet, is significant for two primary reasons: cross border flows of digital goods are becoming increasingly important sources of exports in their own right and because digital products can and will be further utilized to support flows of physical goods. However, the regional and domestic regulatory environment in many regions and countries has been unable to match the sector’s pace of innovation, an area of vital importance given the regulatory-intensive nature of the sector, and remains underdeveloped.

Undefined
Place: 
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Event type: 
Our events
Image: 
Promote to homepage: 
No
Region: 
Africa
Main Tag: 
Services
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 - 5:29am to Thursday, 23 March 2017 - 5:29am

 

The development of well-functioning and efficient services sectors is crucial to achieving structural transformation and sustainable and inclusive growth in LDCs and LICs. Furthermore, the global economy is undergoing a fundamental structural reformation driven by digital technology. Digital trade is, and will become, increasingly important for economies as digital services/e-commerce are increasingly directly traded as well as serving as crucial facilitating inputs into the production of other goods and services.

ICTSD’s work in support of the implementation of the WTO LDC Services Waiver, including the information obtained from case studies carried out in sixteen LDCs, suggested that one of the primary barriers to both domestic service sector development and services exports are regulatory aspects. There is a positive role for regulatory and policy development in economies in East Africa to significantly improve service sector and digital efficiency and competitiveness, leading to static and dynamic gains in the domestic economy, boost export performance and assist local firms to tap into global value chains (GVCs). 

SMEs engaged in the services sector are subject to a number of challenges and barriers, however, rich opportunities exist for them to generate economic growth and to support social and economic inclusion in the region. Recent work, carried out by ICTSD and others, suggests that the share of female employment in service sectors is significant, women account for almost half of all service sector employment globally, and that, more importantly, female participation in service sectors in Africa is expanding rapidly. Mainstreaming gender into regulatory frameworks is crucial for not only reducing poverty, improving employments prospects, and raising living standards for millions of women in region but is also equally necessary to improve productivity and efficiency across the region.

 

There is a strong link between a higher concentration of economic activity in the services sector and higher rates of economic growth. Apart from playing a key role in generating economic growth, service sector development can also help address domestic development priorities ranging from structural transformation to gender equality and inclusive growth.

To join the conversation online please use the hashtag #Services4Development

 

Undefined
Place: 
Nairobi, Kenya
Event type: 
Our events
Image: 
Promote to homepage: 
No
Updates: 
Services and Sustainable Development: A Conceptual ApproachThe Gender Dimensions of Services
Region: 
Africa
Main Tag: 
Services
Language: 
English
Partners: 

 

...

Date period: 
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 - 8:30am to Thursday, 26 January 2017 - 4:30pm