The potential of the services sector to induce growth in developing countries is great, but underutilized, often adversely affected by lacking regulation. While in the developed world this sector powers more than 70% of the economy and creates more than half of all jobs, in the developing countries its contribution tends to be substantially lower.
Yet, as put by Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, “when developing countries grow, they grow through services”. Not only does growth in this sector create jobs and generate income, it also diversifies the economy, a factor particularly important for commodity-exporting countries, he said.
Dr. Supachai spoke at the opening session of the Global Services Forum
, a full-day event of UNCTAD XIII
. Joining him as speakers at the session were H.E. Ambassador Ransford Smith, Deputy Secretary-General, Commonwealth Secretariat, and H.E. Mr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Senator and Chairman & CEO, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org).
H.E. Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar, moderated the proceedings, calling from the outset for institutionalizing the Global Services Forum, making it a recurring event.
The Forum could have a crucial role in promoting regional partnerships for drafting and implementing suitable regulatory frameworks in the services sector, he added. In this vein, the afternoon proceedings of the Forum today will see launch of an initiative for forming a services alliance in the Arab region, Dr. Al-Kawari reminded.
Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh moderated the subsequent high-level session on services productivity and competitiveness. Sessions of the Forum will continue throughout the day.