OIC Economic Outlook 2023 - The Rise of the Digital Economy and Bridging the Digital Divide
Date: 05 December 2023

SESRIC has launched the 2023 edition of the OIC Economic Outlook report during the 39th Ministerial Session of the COMCEC, which was held on 2-5 December 2023 in Istanbul, Republic of Türkiye. H.E. Ms. Zehra Zümrüt SELÇUK, Director General of SESRIC, presented the main highlights of the report during the conference.

This flagship report of SESRIC explores global macroeconomic trends with a focus on the OIC countries as a group and provides a wide range of useful statistics and analyses, including the comparison of OIC countries’ economic performance with the developed countries, the non-OIC developing countries, and the world average. It pays special attention to the rise of digital economy and explore the opportunities to benefit from this transformation by bridging the digital divide.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the world economy showed a strong recovery in 2021 with an average growth rate of 6.3%. In 2022, the real GDP growth rate reached back to its pre-pandemic trajectory, and global economy is expected to maintain a growth rate at around 3% in 2023 and 2024. However, the ongoing geopolitical conflicts and inflationary pressures are anticipated to have a substantial impact on the post-pandemic global economic recovery and pose significant uncertainties to the outlook. Experiencing a lower contraction during the pandemic, OIC countries demonstrated a stronger recovery during the post-pandemic period. In 2022, OIC countries recorded on average 5.6% growth in their GDPs, which is the highest growth rate observed over the last decade.

According to the Report, OIC countries are overall performing better in terms of trade and investment during the post-pandemic period, but more actions are needed to make them sustainable. This requires strategic investment in productive capacities in OIC countries to foster innovation and competitiveness, and achieve economic diversification. On the other hand, despite recording a noticeable recovery, OIC countries continue to struggle in reducing unemployment and inflation rates, further diverging from the world averages.

The world economy is also witnessing a new form of transformation characterized mainly by rising digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence. These transformative technologies are reshaping industries, supply chains, and the very nature of work itself. In this connection, this report discusses issues and challenges associated with digital transformation and offers a set of comprehensive policy options under seven steps for OIC countries to adapt to the growing digitalization of economic activities and benefit from its mounting importance. This includes how to identify the priority areas to invest, how to finance digital infrastructure investments, how to improve access to digital technologies, how to regulate the digital economy, how to ensure cyber security, how to support firms and entrepreneurs to better utilize digital technologies, and how to upgrade skills to increase productivity and minimize job losses.

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