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Industrial Development Report 2016

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

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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 inclusive and sustainable industrial development

Developing countries, especially at an early stage of industrialization, have more opportunities to pursue inclusive industrial development with a potential for rapid growth and limited environmental damage. The take-off of labour-intensive industries exporting to major world markets could boost both output and employment, thus promoting sustained and inclusive growth. And the limited output volume and concentration on less polluting activities tend to make manufacturing less damaging for the environment than they will become at a later stage.

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