A new report from international experts the OECD provides evidence to support the Welsh Government’s approach to regional economic development in Wales.

The Welsh Government commissioned the OECD to advise, challenge and share international best practice as it implements the Economic Action Plan and develops new plans for Regional Investment in Wales now we’ve left the European Union.

Work by the OECD has been underway for eighteen months and has involved extensive research, analysis and engagement with the Welsh Government and partners across Wales.

The report published today entitled The Future of Regional Development and Public Investment in Wales, United Kingdom supports more joined-up policy-making for regional development and suggests new ways to strengthen its governance.. The report also proposes ways to better build capacity and shares recommendations-for-action to Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities.

Much of this work is already underway, and the OECD is now working on the development of a practical toolkit for regional partners to use to support those changes.

Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities said:

“There is potential in Wales to reverse trends of low labour productivity – among the lowest in the UK – and build on average well-being performance by using place-based, integrated regional development policy and targeted public investment. Special attention to investment that increases the skills of the Welsh labour force and addressees youth unemployment, improves access to internet connectivity and generates high-performing transport networks, and advances R&D and innovation by small, medium and large enterprises alike could all contribute to successful growth and well-being in Wales.

“We would like to thank all of the Welsh organisations that have contributed to this work and provided valuable insight over the last 18 months.”

Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates added:

“I am delighted the OECD has supported this work. Our overall aim for regionalism and a place-based approach is for decisions to be made at the point most valuable to the people of Wales. This approach is very much built through partnerships with the public, private, and third sectors as well as local communities.

“The changes we have outlined through the Economic Action Plan to boost regional economies across Wales are profound, as is our ambition for stronger regional partnership working in Wales to boost inclusive and sustainable growth. There is no-one better to help us deliver this than the OECD and I thank them for their work.”

Counsel General and Minister for European Transition Jeremy Miles said:

“Our strategy for EU regional investment has helped improve and grow our economy, but it’s clear we’ll need to continue to invest to address existing, and new, economic challenges we face.

“We are not looking to simply replicate the EU model in Wales – we are committed to creating a new, made-in-Wales approach that reflects international best practice, builds on our distinctive legislative landscape, and delivers for all of our businesses, communities and people.”

This partnership with the OECD will help strengthen our approach and give confidence to our partners that new and dynamic partnerships can be formed to innovate and share policies in fresh and imaginative ways.

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