WEF calls for new approach to economic growth

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The World Economic Forum meeting in Davos has proposed a new framework that takes a holistic look at GDP alongside the quality of growth across 107 economies. Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash.

A new World Economic Forum report calls for a fresh approach to economic growth, balancing efficiency with long-term sustainability and equity.

A new World Economic Forum report, released on 17 January 2024 at the forum’s annual meeting in Davos, offers a re-evaluation of global economic growth, introducing a new framework that takes a holistic look at GDP alongside the quality of growth across 107 economies.

The Future of Growth Report 2024 highlights a significant economic slowdown, estimated to fall to the lowest rate in three decades by 2030, amid ongoing economic and geopolitical shocks. This downturn is exacerbating a range of interconnected global challenges, including the climate crisis and a weakening social contract, which are collectively reversing progress in global development.

“Reigniting global growth will be essential to addressing key challenges, yet growth alone is not enough,” said World Economic Forum managing director Saadia Zahidi. “The report proposes a new way for assessing economic growth that balances efficiency with long-term sustainability, resilience and equity, as well as innovation for the future, aligning with both global and national priorities,” Zahidi said.

The Future of Growth Report 2024 introduces a multidimensional framework to assess the quality of economic growth across 107 countries globally. It characterises nations’ economic growth across four dimensions – innovativeness, inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience. The data and analysis presented may be used by a wide range of stakeholders to identify areas to improve, trade-offs to resolve or synergies to exploit.

While every country has a unique growth pathway shaped by a wide range of circumstantial factors, the report highlights seven distinct “growth pathway archetypes,” with the aim to identify countries most closely related in their growth characteristics and facing similar constraints and opportunities.

The report lays the foundation for the Future of Growth Initiative, a two-year campaign aimed at inspiring discussion and action around charting new pathways for economic growth and supporting policymakers from around the world, together with economists and other experts, in balancing growth, innovation, inclusion, sustainability, and resilience goals.

In her introduction to the Future of Growth Report 2024, World Economic Forum managing director Saadia Zahidi, said: “The future of growth must shift to a better balance between quantity and quality. A simple “return” to GDP growth is not enough. Instead, each country must undertake a unique and complex journey towards achieving innovative, inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth, while contributing to global resilience.

“This report aims to serve as a call to action for leaders to critically reassess and recalibrate their growth models and policies for a new economic era.”

Click here to find out more about and download the Future of Growth Report 2024.