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Industrial Development Report 2016

The Role of Technology and Innovation in Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development

image of Industrial Development Report 2016
This report looks at how technology and innovation achieves inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). Its main finding is that ISID is feasible and technology can simultaneously serve all three dimensions of sustainability, including economic, social and environmental. Rapid inclusive and sustainable industrialization can happen more frequently provided that policymakers firmly steer the industrialization process with opportune policies and avoid past mistakes. In some cases, the spread of technology has not materialized in concrete growth opportunities because of the lack of technological capabilities. Innovation needs to be supported by interventions strengthening the process from invention to adoption, as capabilities are developed and high tech manufacturing sectors are created, seeing higher rates of sustainable growth.

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Moving towards greener structural transformation

Under what conditions will countries promote enough technological change to induce environmentfriendly growth? Today’s countries had to pay a heavy price in pollution to pursue industrialization and economic growth. The question here is whether (lowand middle-income) countries industrializing in the 21st century will leapfrog and decouple their growth from pollution and the use of natural resources. Many firms have invested in technological change to increase their energy and resource efficiency, maximizing profits and also reducing pollution. But that type of technological change is not sufficient to overcome the scale effect of increasing world production.

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