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Future of Manufacturing

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The Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice hosted an event on October 12 that focused on the ways technology is affecting how and where goods are made. Panelists at the event included Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Senior Economic Adviser in the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group; Raj Batra, President of Digital Factory at Siemens; Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility; and Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO. Shawn Donnan, World Trade Editor for the Financial Times, moderated the discussion.

The panelists agreed that there are opportunities in manufacturing for developing countries.  Looking ahead, localization and customization of production will offer openings for growth and employment, as will services, which are increasingly becoming embedded in manufacturing.

But in order to create the jobs of tomorrow, developing countries need to focus on policies that build an enabling environment, consisting of the “3 Cs” – connectivity, connectedness, and capabilities.  Building human capital is critical for developing countries, particularly if they want to adopt new technologies.  Strengthening capabilities that require a human touch and thus cannot be automated – such as management, strategy and creative innovation - will also be vital for jobs of the future.