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2019 OECD Economic Surveys: Slovak Republic 2019

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Slovak Republic 2019

The Slovak economy remains strong. Thanks to sustained economic growth, almost 4% on average in the last two decades, living standards have converged towards the OECD average. The economy has benefitted from strong integration into global value chains, but the gains from this integration are likely to decline in the future. Foreign direct investment has focused mainly on downstream activities, which, although generating high productivity growth in the past, have low value added. Faced with rapid wage increases, technological change and labour shortages, Slovakia needs to upgrade the skills of its workers to protect their longer-term employability and foster productivity gains.While poverty and inequality are low overall, the majority of Slovakia’s Roma, about 8% of the population, face extreme social exclusion, with very low employment, widespread poverty and low life expectancy. Providing better living standards and economic opportunities to the Roma will require well-coordinated efforts across social, housing, education and employment policies.

SPECIAL FEATURES: SOCIAL INTEGRATION OF ROMA; GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS

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Enhancing the social integration of Roma

Roma account for almost one-tenth of the population in the Slovak Republic. They live mostly excluded from the general population in concentrated settlements, separated neighbourhoods or ghettos. The majority live in poverty and face social exclusion in almost all aspects of everyday life. Only a small share of Roma work, and a majority suffer from long spells of unemployment, their educational attainment is low, and a large number are illiterate. Social exclusion is further exacerbated by rising general animosity and mistrust between Roma and non-Roma groups. This calls for immediate policy action. The government should ensure easy access to all public services and provide additional support for the disadvantaged Roma communities. Individual policies should be effectively coordinated, because the problems that the Roma are facing are interconnected. A necessary precondition for successful Roma integration is the support of the general population. Policy interventions towards Roma integration should be accompanied by measures to eliminate the prejudices among parts of the majority population against their fellow citizens.

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