By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepthNews Report
BERLIN | PARIS (IDN) – Uruguay has become the 10th member country in Latin America and the Caribbean to join a group of 50 OECD and non-OECD countries that are already members of the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Explaining the accession, a press release said, Uruguay’s structural characteristics, development experience and challenges offer rich opportunities for knowledge sharing among the Centre’s member countries.
Since its banking and financial crisis in 2002, it added, Uruguay has made remarkable progress. Stable macroeconomic policies and a favourable external environment permitted brisk growth and the financing of social policies, yielding the longest period of economic growth in decades.
The South American country’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaged 5.3 percent between 2003 and 2013, well above the estimated potential rate of 4 percent. What is more, rapid economic growth has been accompanied by improvements in income distribution and poverty reduction, with the share of the population under the national poverty line decreasing from 40 percent to less than 15 percent. Uruguay is home to 3.4 million people.
The Centre’s Press Office points out that after the 2008 global financial crisis, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through sustained public expenditure and investment. Growth projections are reported to be promising, with 2.4 percent growth expected in 2015 and 2.6 percent in 2016, above the region’s average and similar to OECD countries.
Uruguay’s accession to the OECD Development Centre was celebrated at the Organisation’s headquarters in Paris on October 30 during a special session of the Centre’s Governing Board in the presence of President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay, the country’s Finance Minister Danilo Astori, and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
“I applaud Uruguay’s strong commitment to becoming a member of the Development Centre. The country has remarkable experience in balancing growth and social inclusion and in experimenting with policy innovations. We can only be enthusiastic about the rich opportunities for knowledge sharing and policy dialogue that accompany Uruguay’s accession to the OECD Development Centre,” said Pierre Duquesne, the Chair of the OECD Development Centre’s Governing Board and Ambassador of France to the OECD.
Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, underscored that “Uruguay stands out in Latin America. Its participation in the Centre’s activities builds on a rich history of cooperation and advances our strong engagement and partnership with countries and institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”
The South American country’s engagement with the Centre is longstanding, the Centre’s Press Office said. The latest example is the ongoing Multidimensional Country Review (MDCR), which offers perspectives on well-being indicators and quality of life in Uruguay as well as structural and macroeconomic trends to support the design of policies for sustaining growth and social inclusion.
The country is also an active participant in the Centre’s Policy Dialogue on Global Value Chains, Production Transformation and Development, in the Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean and in key OECD Development Centre events, such as the International Economic Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Uruguay also participates in several activities as part of its fruitful cooperation with the OECD,” the Development Centre’s Press Office said. For instance, the country is a member of the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. It has been participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluation and is currently undertaking a Review of Policies to Improve the Effectiveness of Resource Use in Schools.
In contrast to its now 51-member Development Centre, OECD comprises 34 countries, majority belonging to the ‘Club of the rich’. The member countries regularly turn to one another to identify problems, discuss and analyse them, and promote policies to solve them.
“The track record is striking,” says the OECD. The U.S. has seen its national wealth almost triple in the five decades since the Organisation was created, calculated in terms of gross domestic product per head of population. Other OECD countries have seen similar, and in some cases even more spectacular, progress.
So, too, have countries that a few decades ago were still only minor players on the world stage, states the OECD. Brazil, India and China have emerged as new economic giants. The three of them, with Indonesia and South Africa, are Key Partners of the Organisation and contribute to its work in a sustained and comprehensive manner.
Together with them, the OECD brings around its table 39 countries that account for 80 percent of world trade and investment, giving it a pivotal role in addressing the challenges facing the world economy.
Uruguay’s entry into the Development Centre is seen not only to mark “a significant stride in support of the country’s inclusive growth”, but also to deepen the Centre’s “global representativeness”. [IDN-InDepthNews – 30 October 2015]
Photo: Montevideo – Wikitravel